In July, Concord Academy collaborated with the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston on a one-week residency for Boston-area dancers. Reggie Wilson, artistic director of Brooklyn’s Fist and Heel Performance Group, joined as the guest choreographer of honor. He arrived at the ICA one hot July day with three of his company members in tow, fresh from their most recent performance of Moses(es), at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Waiting to meet him in the air-conditioned theater were 21 eager dancers from the Boston area. Several dancers had learned of the residency through ties to Summer Stages Dance and Concord Academy, as well as to Richard Colton and Amy Spencer.
For the dancers, the residency served as invaluable professional development, both in their dancing technique and their own choreography. Recent CA graduate Marina Fong ’14 was among those in the residency. One of the youngest in the group, she viewed this program with Wilson as a “jumping-off point to the professional world.”
While teaching his choreography, style, and the elements of his creative process, Wilson allowed the dancers to bring their own impulses and quality of movement to the choreography. Central to his teaching is the often-challenging idea of not being afraid to mess up, something the dancers explored as the week progressed.
In the span of the group’s time together, Wilson introduced the dancers to a wide range of influences and material, not knowing exactly how these pieces would come together. By the last day, the group had molded out of the week’s investigation a dance singularly created for these dancers and for the breathtaking ICA theater space. In the spirit of Moses(es) and offering the ICA audience a taste of this larger work, this piece communicated the playfulness of leading and following, as well as the joyful expression of self within a group. It was the perfect culmination of a week full of failures and success, self-exploration, and creative discussion.
Wilson will return to the ICA in March with his company to perform Moses(es).