Tuesday, September 5 – Sumi Clements and Taryn Vander Hoop, Co-Founders of Summation Dance, officially announced Project Highway HabitUS, a multi-phased project aimed at studying how geography shapes ideology, both political and cultural.
Habitus – a sociological system aimed at understanding why individuals perceive the world as they do, and how this, in turn, informs their behaviors and participation within society.
Clements and Vander Hoop will be traveling by camper van around the country researching ideas of how geography shapes ideology, in conjunction with the social theories of habitus and performativity. This concept was loosely inspired by, and developed in tandem with, the election cycle. During this pivotal time in our nation’s history, the artists feel an urgency to contribute, thus aiming to observe the country as it grapples with recent changes. Their research will investigate not only what divides the country, but also what unites it.
The artists aim to observe the varying populations of the country through a neutral lens. Their approach includes a breadth of strategies that range from: employing researched methods of interacting with disparate communities and the cultures that exist within them, conducting and documenting informal interviews with locals in a fashion inspired by “Humans of New York”, offering free movement experiences at community centers, and more improvised attempts at engagement, i.e. attending organized rallies/protests/demonstrations, or simply hunkering down in a dive bar. This project hopes to chronicle real people in real environments, thus forming the subject of the greater work of art.
Along the way, the company will also be setting new works on universities across the nation. While the skeleton of each work will be the same for each school, the nuance and specificity of each piece will be influenced by how those dancers move, think, and operate in their region. Which thought patterns translate into the body, and which ones become mutated? These residencies will both inform the research, as well as provide a space to workshop material collected on the road, progressively transforming these findings into a final dance work.
The culmination of Project Highway HabitUS will be an evening-length work performed in New York City along with video documentation, a blog, and a book on the project in 2018-19. Part love letter, part underbelly, the work will come together like a patchwork quilt.
Known for physicality, nuance and polished dance making, the all-women troupe makes another major stride with a unique project unlike any that have come before. With a history including productions at BAM and BAC (Baryshnikov Arts Center), and appearances at Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Festival, City Center, 92nd Street Y, Brooklyn’s FLICfest, the Tisch Alumni Concert at Skirball Center, and Dancing Literate Festival – an outreach initiative of their own invention at Judson Church – Summation Dance proudly continues its growth, asserting its spirited presence on the New York, and now National, dance scene.
Summation Dance Company is a New York City based modern dance company with a mission to find the beauty in struggle and the humor in the mundane through exciting, innovative, and highly physical work.
In 2010, Summation Dance founders Clements and Vander Hoop graduated with their MFAs in Dance Performance and Choreography from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Since the spring of 2010, Summation Dance has self-produced and premiered evening length works annually at Brooklyn Academy of Music and Baryshnikov Arts Center, as well as produced a Dance Education Outreach Festival, Dancing Literate Project, at Judson Memorial Church. Through the Dancing Literate Project, Summation has commissioned Suzanne Beahrs (Suzanne Beahrs Dance), Sidra Bell (Sidra Bell Dance New York), Claudia Anata Hubiak (The Anata Project), Peter Kyle (Peter Kyle Dance), and Kendra Portier (BandPortier) to perform, as well as Andrea Miller (Gallim Dance), Sydney Skybetter (skybetter & associates) and Taryn Vander Hoop (Summation Dance) to set or create works on Summation’s dancers.
The company has also performed at the Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Festival, the Dig Dance Series and Fridays at Noon Series at the 92nd St Y, La MaMa Moves Festival, World Dance Alliance Conference, FAB Festival, FlicFest at the Irondale Center, DUMBO Dance Festival, and at Baruch Performing Arts Center, City Center, Judson Memorial Church, Dancespace at St. Mark’s Church and the Skirball Center. Summation has received numerous commissions and residencies from venues and colleges across the country.
Summation Dance strives to bridge the gap between the choreographer and the viewer, so the art form is no longer esoteric and understood only by the dance elite, but can be more universally appreciated. Summation Dance offers dance and arts education programs for children and young adults with educational outreach programs bringing dance into the schools, offering performances, as well as movement and composition classes, to children who may not otherwise have exposure to the arts.
For further information www.summationdance.org