OZ ARTS BRINGS ZOE|JUNIPER’S MULTI-DISCIPLINARY PERFORMANCE TO NASHVILLE SEPT. 14 & 15
Seattle-Based Dance & Visual Arts Collective to Perform in the ‘Hollow Square’ with Sacred Harp Singers Integrated into the Audience for a Unique, Immersive Experience
NASHVILLE, TENN. – August 17, 2017 – Based on an inquiry into the raw and uniquely American tradition of Sacred Harp singing, dance and visual design duo zoe|juniper assembled a special ensemble to create Clear & Sweet - a visually arresting, multi-disciplinary performance incorporating dance and live vocals.
Sacred Harp, a tradition of choral music originating in the American South from the early to mid 1800s utilizes a form of music notation called Shape Notes and is performed a capella. The practice of Sacred Harp singing is participatory, not passive, and everyone regardless of differences or abilities is welcome to join in. Audience members to the performances at OZ Arts will be provided with a Song Book upon arrival, and singing is encouraged, but not required.
The choreography for Clear and Sweet was inspired, not only by the strength that can be found in community, but also by a sense of redemption that may be achieved through physical exertion. The dance work is performed by five stellar dancers in the center of the “hollow square,” as it is known in the Sacred Harp community, with singers representing four vocal parts positioned on each side of the surrounding audience. This arrangement creates an intimate and immersive visual and sonic experience. Scofield’s angular, intense choreography and Shuey’s cutting-edge visual design embody this search for redemption, shifting points of perspective for the audience. Clear & Sweet depicts moments of spiritual struggle as the dancers navigate the space between their similarities and differences; constantly moving and hardly leaving the stage at all throughout the hour-long work.
“We are thrilled to bring our work to the South and to perform at OZ Arts for the first time,” said Zoe Scofield. “Having been born and raised in Georgia and working with a music style I learned in Hoboken, GA (where it has been practiced for over 150 years) it is particularly meaningful to perform Clear and Sweet here.”
“I have long been a fan of zoe|juniper’s dance and visual design collaborations, but I was particularly compelled to bring Clear & Sweet to OZ Arts,” said Lauren Snelling, artistic director at OZ Arts. “At a time when our nation feels incredibly divided and adrift, I am attracted by the notion of bringing people together for a collective experience. As always with our programs, our goal is to create a sense of welcome and to encourage audiences to lean in and engage the work personally and individually. Given Zoe’s Southern roots and her deep connection to a singing tradition that depends on togetherness, Clear and Sweet seemed to connect with our region’s legacy of gathering to make music together, regardless of our differences.”
Clear & Sweet was commissioned through the National Performance Network’s Creation Fund with lead funding from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, MAP Fund, 4Culture and Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. Clear & Sweet was created in part during the Tisch Dance Summer Residency Program at New York University and in residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, On the Boards, Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, and The Bellagio Center through the Rockefeller Foundation. Clear and Sweet had its world premiere at Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans in September 2016.
The performance at OZ Arts is funded in part by a grant from South Arts, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and Tennessee Arts Commission, and was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The performance starts at 8:00 pm on September 14 and 15, and will last 65 minutes without an intermission. Audience members are invited to stay for a post-show Q&A session with the performers and Lauren Snelling on Thursday, September 14. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online now at www.ozartsnashville.org.
Zoe Scofield will teach a dance masterclass on Saturday, September 16 at Belmont’s Black Box from 11:00am-12:30pm. Juniper Shuey will conduct a design masterclass on Friday, September 15 at OZ Arts from 10:00-11.30am. Detailed information and registration available at www.ozartsnashville.org/education.
2015 Guggenheim Fellow and 2013 Stranger Genius Award-winner zoe | juniper is a Seattle-based dance and visual arts team The Boston Globe describes as a “crazy dream you just can’t shake.” Co-founded by choreographer Zoe Scofield and visual artist Juniper Shuey, the company creates stunning dance, video installations and photography works that have been commissioned and presented by national and international arts centers such as On the Boards, PICA, Trafo House of Art, Dance Theater Workshop, Bates Dance Festival, NYLA, Spoleto Festival, Jacob’s Pillow, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Body Festival (New Zealand), Yerba Buena Center, Columbia College Chicago, DiverseWorks, The Frye Art Museum and many more. Their collaboration began in 2004 with I am nothing without you, for On the Boards’ NW New Works Festival in Seattle, eventually leading to the formation of their company in 2006. That same year, zoe | juniper and composer/musician Morgan Henderson co-created the Secret of Gold Festival, an annual multi-disciplinary arts festival in Arlington, Washington, now known as Smoke Farm Lo-Fi Arts Festival. The duo has also taught workshops and given lectures on dance, photography, collaboration and installation throughout the US and internationally.
About OZ Arts Nashville
Since opening in 2014, OZ Arts Nashville, a 501(c)(3) contemporary arts center, has changed the cultural landscape of the city. Housed in the former C.A.O. cigar warehouse owned by Nashville’s Ozgener family, OZ Arts, under the artistic leadership of Lauren Snelling, brings world-class performances and art installations to the city, and gives ambitious local artists opportunities to work on a grand scale. The flexible 10,000 square-foot, column-free venue, nestled amidst five acres of artfully landscaped grounds, is continually reconfigured to serve artists’ imaginations, and to challenge and inspire a diverse range of curious audiences.
For more information, please visit www.ozartsnashville.org.