Darling / Helen Simoneau & Mary Kouyoumdjian
The Latest Update
We premiered DARLING last month. Thank you to New Music USA for your support!
Choreography: Helen Simoneau
Original Music: Mary Kouyoumdjian
Dramaturgy: Melanie George
Costume Design: Quinn Czejkowski
Lighting Design: David Ferri
Performance: Marielis Garcia, Donovan Reed, Gianna Theodore, Carlo Antonio Villanueva, Claire Westby
Photos by Peter Mueller
Looking forward to sharing this new work in March.
Tickets are now available at https://rhodesartscenter.org/darling/
In Darling, choreographer Helen Simoneau will be working collaboratively with composer, Mary Kouyoumdjian, and dancers, Marielis Garcia, Donovan Reed, Gianna Theodore, Carlo Antonio Villanueva, and Claire Westby to construct an evening-length piece to premiere at the Hanesbrands Theatre, March 5 & 6, 2020. Darling is being created through multiple residencies at the University of Buffalo, UNC School of the Arts, and at NYU/Tisch.
Program Note by Dramaturg Melanie George:
DARLING, the title of this work, is a term of endearment on its face, but like honey, doll-face, sweetheart, and the purposefully double-edged “bless your heart” it can be wielded for other purposes. Out of the wrong mouth, babe and similar words can warp from endearment to terms of bondage. This space between intent and impact is at the heart of DARLING. In spite of the connotation of the title, tonight’s work has no sweetness. Any lightness in the piece is purely physical, derived the virtuosity of the dancers’ bodies encounters with space. DARLING is concerned with the intersection of intimacy and agency. Its recurring themes – contact and the exchange of power – winnow through the work like smoke, alternating between engulfing the action or lingering, like a suggestion. DARLING centers on motion over emotion, but not at the expense of humanity and affect. Like real-world relationships, the dynamics between the performers adapt continuously. Agency is not always as it seems, as resultant power slithers between movers often within the space of a weight shift, a touch on the shoulder, or a meeting of the eyes. There is a nuanced understanding about human interaction here, investing in resultant relationships over performative melodrama. Simoneau’s choreography imbues the spaces between movements with a tension that revels in the proposition that the end is prologue for the next moment. This is not a work of impulse. There are choices being made by the choreographer and dancers at every turn, tilt, and balance.
Photography: Olly Yung with Creative Direction: Eli Gray
You Are Not a Kid is the first movement of Paper Pianos written by Mary Kouyoumdjian and performed by Alarm Will Sound on July 30, 2016 at the Mizzou International Composers Festival. Kouyoumdjian’s work is emotional and personal while it brings others’ stories to the forefront. A passage beginning at 2:30 will weave Kouyoumdjian’s sound with Milad Yousufi, an Afghan refugee’s, words. “Intensely moving, boldly beautiful, this could be the future of a new kind of documentary that’s told primarily through music.” -Santa Barbara Independent
Choreographed by Helen Simoneau with featured performers and with music by Nathalie Joachim, Land Bridge was performed in March 2016 at the Hanesbrands Theatre and awarded the New Music USA grant. Here you will see how Joachim’s sound and Simoneau’s movement inform identity. “The metaphor of migration and identity is very clear in certain parts…and other sections transcend metaphor, playing with the energies of momentum and falling.”–Triad City Beat
In rehearsal in Summer 2018, here is a preview of Darling. Choreographer Helen Simoneau discusses how dancers Burr Johnson and Claire Westby move beyond gender to examine relationship. Music is by Daniel Bindschedler.
Start and End Dates
03/29/2019 — 03/07/2020
Winston-Salem, North Carolina