but the sun came up and we were here (NY premiere)
Footage from the New York premiere of but the sun came up and we were here at La MaMa in May 2019 as part of the La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival 2019.
Performers descend – at times invited, at times thrust – into an unknown, maybe unknowable, state. Change is constant and inevitable, nothing will hold. And yet, transformation is the place of connection, volatility offers possibility and disruption is a new beginning. As the set comes to life around them, the performers find themselves grasping at connection, at unity, sensing what stirs each interaction and reaction. The imprint that remains in our bodies, our movement and our experience of the moment – and what we do with it – is key to creating and experiencing but the sun came up and we were here.
Footage from world premiere of Diane. Still. at 100 Grand in February 2019 as part of the 19th iteration of Loft into Theater.
This collaborative investigation into intersectional identities and enduring daily injustices as young women features three dancers: Nadia Halim, Sadi Mosko, and Rochelle Jamila Wilbun.
Read Deborah Jowitt’s review of the show here.
but the sun came up and we were here (world premiere)
Footage from the world premiere of but the sun came up and we were here in Lublin, Poland in November 2018 as part of the 22nd International Meeting of Dance Theaters.
Colleen Thomas collaborates with dancers from Poland, U.S., Belarus, and Ukraine to delve into the embodied experience of self in a climate of heightened political and social unrest. Reflecting on current events in the national cultural landscape and a desire to address issues of justice and equality through movement, Thomas draws upon her experience as a woman, working artist and mother to craft a dance work that questions how social paradigms are embedded in our bodies and translated to the world. This international co-production was supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the Lublin Dance Theater, the Culture Center in Lublin and the East European Performing Arts Platform (EEPAP).
Read more about this international collaboration here.
Excerpt from the premiere of Welcome Home on Governors Island in September 2016.
This re-connection in my childhood home on Governors Island was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
As I reflected on the similarities between the 1970s and today, I find now (after the 2016 election) that we might not have come as far as I presumed. The piece looked at memories, family and what is passed down, but we also touched on racial and gender inequality.
We received such beautiful reviews.
Her(e) Repetitive Blueprint
Excerpt from the premiere at The 92nd Street Y on October 23-25, 2015.
In my first evening-length piece, Her(e) Repetitive Blueprint, the inevitability of our perception is called into question. How can we see clearly if we are beholden to the stories we keep telling ourselves? And yet we try, we must. We scrap it all and start over knowing that there is no clean slate, only these bodies and the web of perceived social, gender and racial narratives that run rampant across the shapes and mounds that hold our blood and guts.
The performances inspired a lot of interest - Writing for Arts Journal, Deborah Jowitt, applauded the work as “Amazing. Fascinating.”
Critic Eva Yaa Asantewaa included the piece on her list of Most Memorable Performances in 2015. Supported by LMCC, the Harkness Foundation, and Barnard College's Office of the Provost.
Stupid is a Bad Word
Stupid is a Bad Word. is a collaborative duet created by Colleen Thomas and Adriane Fang.
The work references quirks of childhood, while moments of whimsy and humor hint at the working relationship between these old friends.
just give me ten seconds (film)
Running Time: 4 min
just give me ten seconds explores the simultaneous vulnerability and strength of the exposed, expressive female body by positioning the dance in urban spaces throughout Rio de Janeiro. Colleen Thomas creates instantaneous solutions to the obstacles presented by the terrain and passersby as she flies fearlessly through the compressed humanity of the busy city. Guided by the meticulous eye of Petra Costa’s camera, we follow Colleen as she dares to understand her body as a communicative tool, and evoke the idea that once given the chance to express ourselves, our bodies can speak volumes.
when the earth was flat, it smelled like the color pink, and I believed
Running Time: 14 min
Featuring a six-person rock band led by Chris Lancaster and extraordinary performances by some of New York City’s best dancers, who brought back a memory of a simpler time in 1980s Miami.
Jane Can't Connect
A performative duet between Colleen Thomas and Chris Lancaster that grew out of improvisation, where they put onstage for the audience the interactions that they had come to enjoy in the studio as collaborators. The roles of musician, dancer, director, interpreter, boss, and worker were jumbled in this work, which included skating, music boxes, and the song Open Arms, by Journey.
Winning You with Words (this is how we fall)
Inspired by the dialogue of artistic permission and restraint utilized in Lars von Trier’s The Five Obstructions, choreographer Colleen Thomas, musical collaborator Christopher Lancaster and costumer Joanna Seitz experimented with control and authorship, placing deliberate roadblocks to the others' creative processes. This trio was made for performers Ted Johnson, Julia Burr and Karl Rogers - all of whom happen to be taller than 6 feet.
Catching Her Tears (40°N 73°W)
A psychologically wrought, physically dramatic prying open of the pathos of loss and the desperation in trying to find. Undulating choreography accompanied by an incessantly passionate score hurtle the dancers through a landscape of suspense and quiet terror. Dancers explore the unrelenting tension between skirting the edge of disaster and reeling toward the unknown.
The composition of gesture deftly describes our nonverbal impulses, the quiet conversations of our emotional lives. Dancers become creatures that bear weight, both physical and psychological, at times dropping their burdens and their histories with a thump onto the floor, at other times hurtling their cargo through space. The stage is set for drama-but instead of resolution, the tension is maintained. The performers delight and horrify as they prepare to take us on the same high-stakes journey once more. With a flick, a nervous tick, a convulsive bounce, the premise for this mysterious narrative is set, only to explode with complete momentum, all legs and limbs, spiraling up out of the floor, running across the space on feet or on hands, leveraging off each other. Punctuated by gestures of nurture and simplicity. This dance is character driven, culminating in one man’s attempt to recapture stability.