Beginner's Guide to Ralph Lemon Nov 11, 2010

by Jessica

Here are a few quick things to note about Ralph Lemon to help prepare for his Northwest debut next week!

1. Ralph spent the years between 1995 and 2005 working on the Geography Trilogy. The research and creation of this piece took Ralph across 3 continents. His ouput from this included 3 performances, a book, a film and web art.

2. He’s one of the most important American choreographers working today, but hasn’t been seen in the Northwest until now. Read about why when we launch the Performance Prospectus for Ralph!

3. He has a long history of working with prestigious choreographers and companies. Early in his career he danced for Meredith Monk and since then has been commissioned by companies such as the Limón Dance Company, Alvin Ailey's Repertory Ensemble, the Geneva Opera Ballet and the Lyons Opera Ballet (which was the longtime homebase of dancer Julie Guibert).

4. When Ralph invests in an idea or a theme artistically, his focus is not on the final product, but rather on the research and process that will lead to the creation of the performance, film, book or whatever form the material should take place in. the creative process for How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere? began nearly 8 years ago and originally took form in a 2006 visual art exhibition called (the efflorescence of) Walter. After a few more years of investigating the ideas, themes and collaborations, Lemon decided to create a performance piece.

In a blog on the Walker Arts Center site, an audience member had the following to say after seeing the piece and hearing Ralph talk:

"Ralph suggests, at several points, that their work is the product of “reduction,” which I now understand as more akin to cooking (the boiling down of a liquid into thicker, richer, more essential ingredients, a concentration) than to diminishing size (like losing weight or getting a bargain at the store)..." (Read more of "Ralph Lemon's Reduction")

5. Ralph originally had his own company that produced multiple performances in a season. He chose to disband the company in the interest of broadening the kinds of collaborators he could work on for a project and to also luxuriate in the research and development of a production.

6. In 1999 Ralph made a film with director Isaac Julien and choreographer Bebe Miller. More info on the project can be found here.

Stay tuned for the release of the Performance Prospectus: the complete guide to Ralph Lemon!