Wednesday in Schöneberg @ Chalotte Nexgaard Pilates
9am - Allegro Reformer
10am - Mat
Fridays in Schöneberg @ Chalotte Nexgaard Pilates
9am - Mat
10am - Allegro Reformer
Saturdays in Friedrichshain @ Workout Berlin
10am - Beginner Reformer
11:15am - Reformer
*both of the studios take Urban Sports Club so check the app for more info!*
*also feel free to get in touch with me firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions, concerns, insecurities, fears, skepticism, or resistance in any way to Pilates or exercise in general. I totally understand, and I may be able to help*
It's been six weeks since IMAGO wrapped, and to be honest, I still don't know what to do with myself. The project left me with awe, gratitude, and pride on a scale I have never before experienced. This level of life-changing event doesn't happen everyday, and it has made assimilating back into non-IMAGO life feel a lot like this. As anyone who follows me on social media already knows, I'm coping with said feelings by consuming chocolate croissants and making memes about life in Berlin. To be honest, they're helping.
It also helps to know that IMAGO will live on in various forms - in festivals (in Berlin and hopefully several other places as well), in photographs of the show, and in the memories of the people who saw it.
As I move forwards with life post-IMAGO, I'm building a regular Pilates-teaching practice here and am looking for a flat to live in long-term. After a year and a half of adventures in different living-and-working situations, I am excited to return to a more structured and stable day-to-day.
Finally, despite the awkwardness of integrating this life-changing event into my understanding of how the world can work, I'm beyond grateful for the opportunity to do so. Thank you. To everyone who donated time or money, thank you for believing. To everyone who reached out with kind words, cookies, letters, and encouragement, thank you for your support. And to everyone who saw IMAGO, thank you for coming. I am so humbled by this experience, and hope that it touched you in some way as well.
from the media
Byron Woods' (INDYweek) and Susan Brioli's (Susan Brioli Arts) insightful previews brilliantly put into words my intention and instinct behind making IMAGO. After its premiere, Michaela Dwyer(INDYweek) and Susan Brioli's positive reviews provided valuable thoughts and feedback of the work, as well as giving my mom something to brag about (4 stars!).
I was also featured on Tamara Kissane's awesome podcast, Artists Soapbox, a labor of love that is also a huge gift to the local community - a platform for artists to speak deeply and passionately about their work and place in Triangle arts and the world. Check out my interview with her and listen to more on her website!
IMAGO team updates
Gifted, generous, gorgeous, and glorious, these wonderful people who came together to make IMAGO continue to create and inspire post-IMAGO. Here's a little about what they're up to!
Josephine Decker just premiered her film Madeline's Madeline at Sundance and Berlinale to wildly positive reviews. She is now in LA getting her next projects off the ground and spending as much time in nature as possible so she remembers she is human and she used to know the moon like the eyes of her teddy bear.
Judith Förster got back to her studies in dance, context and choreography at HZT in Berlin, from which she will graduate this summer! In addition, she has been invited to the Cheers for Fears festival in Mülheim an der Ruhr (Germany) to show her research on melting mountains and melted hearts.
JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell is in the crux of planning - Black Ops Theatre Company presents The Bull City Black Theatre Festival, which plays March 15th-18th and March 23rd+24th at Manbites Dog Theater! Visit www.bullcityblacktheatrefest.wordpress.com to learn more.
Patience O'Neill is on to the next project, and then the one after that. No true break in sight, just how they like it.
Nicolle Wasserman has now been a resident of Santa Fe, NM for 6 months and is loving the desert life! Since IMAGO, she has thrown herself full throttle into her work at Meow Wolf, doing her arts management thing to support the creation of a new 50,000 square foot immersive art installation in Las Vegas, NV, opening December 2019.
One thing I realized in making IMAGO was how important Durham is to me. By "Durham" I mean the people there - friends, family, artists, community members - and I want to spend a few months a year there in order to stay connected to the people and the place. If you have any ideas about how to make this possible, particularly if they involve creative collaborations, hit me up! I'm up for dreaming and down for working. email@example.com or WhatsApp +1 917 597 5057
What's in Imago's shadows? Whenever you feel you're about to grasp the weirdness between the poses, between the scream and the giggle, it's already gone. This is what the piece does best: it throws a spotlight on what's hidden while insisting, Wait, there's more, there's more, there's more.
(but only if you've seen the show! Otherwise be prepared for some serious spoilers!)
I spoke with Byron Woods at @IndyWeek a few weeks ago about the show. He wrote a really wonderful article about the conversation, and about IMAGO. Check it out before you come to get a sense of what you're in for!
January 11 - 13 and 18 - 20
Durham Fruit Company
305 S. Dillard St.
doors open at 7:45 / show starts at 8:00
$10 tickets in advance / $12 tickets at the door
I performed soft fists insist, an excerpt from IMAGO, two weekends ago at ada Studios in Berlin and they made a cool trailer for it - watch here!
soft fists insist will travel to Georgia (the country!) in 2018 as part of the experimental contemporary dance festival CIRCE! If you were looking for a reason to travel to Georgia, here is your excuse!
dramaturg Josephine Decker's most recent film Madeline's Madeline, starring Miranda July and Molly Parker, just got into Sundance!
Faye Driscoll, dance-maker extraordinaire, dropped into rehearsals last week to give her feedback about the piece. It was an honor and delight to work in the studio with her!
And our ticketing website is live!
January 11 - 13 and 18 - 20
Durham Fruit Company
$10 tickets in advance / $12 at the door
*No one turned away for lack of funds*
Thanks to 76 super generous super supportive people, our Kickstarter succeeded yesterday and that means that EVERYONE WORKING ON THIS PROJECT GETS PAID FOR THEIR WORK! It shouldn't be as revolutionary as it is, but the truth is that lots of projects don't compensate the people behind the scenes. OR the choreographer (me) ends up playing the role of EVERYONE - production manager, technical director, costumer ... you get the idea. It's so much better that the folks who are actually good at these things do them! It means I can focus on the art-making. And the generous support of our donors makes that possible. Thank you to EVERYONE who donated, either through the kickstarter or directly to me through my fiscal sponsor. You are rocking my world!!!!!!
A passionate and super-talented director, stage manager, and mom, JaMeeka talks about her connection to IMAGO and what's next for her!
Talking to Josephine Decker is so fun. She's imaginative, articulate, goofy, and kind - all traits that draw me to working with her! I sat down with her for this interview yesterday. Her thoughtful observations and clear ideas blew my mind. I can't wait to start working with her in the studio tomorrow!
And stay tuned for interviews with Technical Director JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell and Costume Designer Judith Förster later this week!
Asking Judith Förster to be my costume designer was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I say that because it would have been so easy for me to have not made that decision, and stuck to the old habit of trying to outfit myself. I've done it this way for years: pulling out dresses and old leotards I never wear; or shopping at thrift stores and asking friends if they have something I can borrow. These methods may serve the end goal of having something to wear, but it's rare that said something is perfect. It's usually just convenient and inexpensive.
Judith and I met at pOnderosa last summer, and I was immediately drawn to her artistic sensibility, unapologetic style, and bold personality. I knew I wanted to work with her someday, but I didn't know any when or where or how.
This summer, as I began work on IMAGO, I realized that my old costuming habits would need to change if I was going to fulfill the vision I have for the piece. I knew that alone, I wouldn't give my costume the attention it needed; and I knew, too, how powerful a good costume can be (and how devastating a bad costume can be). Excited by the very idea of working with Judith, I asked her to be my costume designer. She said yes.
We met several times over the course of two months in Berlin. In the earlier meetings, Judith would ask me details about the piece: what are my inspirations and motivations? what is the color palette? what mood am I trying to achieve? She listened as I voiced my answers, and always reciprocated with her own understanding and take on the piece. Not only did these conversations help me see the piece from a different perspective, they gave me complete trust in Judith's ability to see the vision and make it better through costuming. As time passed and she brought me costumes to try out, my faith in her ability continued to grow and my gratitude for her sheer presence continued to deepen.
Because I'm not a costume designer, and I could never have made the costumes look this good on my own. What began as an urge to work with someone I liked and respected became a lesson in trusting the process of letting go of control. By designating the job of costume designer to Judith, who's really really good at it, the costumes and the piece are better. I am grateful for this lesson and I am REALLY grateful to Judith for the costume!
In the next few days, an interview with Judith herself will be on this web page. In addition to Judith, we will also post interviews featuring JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell, the Technical Director, and Josephine Decker, the Dramaturg. Stay tuned!
Yesterday I flew from Berlin to LA. It was a long day (23 hours of awakeness - during the entire flight I cursed the airline for not turning out the lights in the plane, as we followed the sun westward...and then blessed them last night as my head hit the pillow, that I was tired enough to fall asleep almost immediately because I rested not at all on the plane). The travel, and accompanying recalibration to the new time, weather, and place, has thrown off my intentions to release an interview a day this week! But I wanted to say hi anyway. Here's a photo I took from the plane.
I like the camera reflection on the window.
Stay tuned for tomorrow, when we will resume our Getting to know the team week! And if you haven't yet, be sure to check out our Kickstarter page and donate to support these fine folks!
Nicolle Wasserman talks about Arts Management, Instagram Filters, and Chili Peppers!
Nicolle Wasserman, Production Manager for IMAGO, and I have been friends for over 17 years! That's more than half my life. And I don't know what I would do without her. Brilliant, supportive, and with a great eye for detail, Nicolle has made this production possible from the start!
Stay tuned for more interviews with the creative and production team this week! We'll publish one a day, every day, through Friday.
If there’s anything I want to be doing in this life, it’s playing, with imagination
an interview with Liam (Patience) O’Neil
I interviewed Liam (Patience) O’Neill, Technical Director for IMAGO, on the phone last week. Patience, a good friend and long-time collaborator of mine, will work with me in the weeks leading up to the show on elements like building the set, hanging the lights, and perfecting the technical components of the piece. In this interview, we ended up talking about some of my favorite subjects: art, identity, and future dreams. Read on to hear their thoughts about these topics and more!
Nicola Bullock (NB): You recently began going by the name “Patience” sometimes. Why?
Liam Patience O’Neill (P): I’ve been desiring a non-gendered name, and Patience is non-gendered. It’s also a virtue, and it is a value of mine that I find within a lot of the things that I like about myself.
On making art
NB: When it comes to art, what kind of projects do you like to do?
P: Anything that I think might be rather beautiful, weird/different than what’s expected, made by someone who I’m already a fan of, or important to do on a social level, I will say yes to.
NB: What’s the best part of making art?
P: In some branches of the arts the word “play” is used to describe what the artist is doing, like a musician plays music or people in theater perform “plays.” There’s a playfulness that is the main focus of these types of art. I try to incorporate that mentality in all the art I do and hope to invite any audience to play along with me. It requires a fair amount of imagination, and if there’s anything I want to be doing in this life, it’s playing, with imagination.
NB: What is your connection with IMAGO?
P: I am very interested in the subject matter of the piece; I have a lot of connection with it. We’re all kind of creatures trying to figure out how to be embodied in this world. Being gender queer, there’s always a big question in my mind as far as: who am I, what is this body, and what is the relationship between these things? And what is society asking of me, in this body, or as someone with a mind, personality, and how are they separate?
On future dreams
NB: What else are you passionate about in your life right now?
P: I’m excited about film school (Patience will move to Denver to attend Colorado Film School next year). It will be a whole new exciting adventure in my life. I’ve never really moved away from home as an adult, so moving to a completely new city and doing a completely new thing is really exciting! Furthermore, I’ll be diving into learning how to utilize yet another form of art!
Stay tuned for more interviews with the creative and production team this week! We'll publish one a day, every day, through Friday.
in a small town in rural Germany
our bodies through the labyrinthine remains of an old cement factory
four of us, together
venting fury and despair
kicking formless metal objects
dancing atop rubble
protest music on a portable speaker
we came together to mourn
(the sadness in my bones wreaks them of strength as I collapse on the floor to stare blankly out the window into the grey-white winter sky
we came together to fight
(terror spasms through me as I watch the Inauguration, certain that I hear him announce the end of democracy and the start of authoritarian rule with him as the big, red -faced rule-maker / rule-breaker)
we came together to do something
a symbolic gesture perhaps
done for our own sense of self-satisfaction
but what better reason is there than this, a sense of satisfaction in ourselves
we can come together
and we can do
that has been done
so that I can believe that
is why I march
When my friend Olympia Bukkakis asked me to perform as part of her show FANCY at Ludwig in January, I got really excited. I love the word, and the idea of, fancy. To me, it's something that is dressy but not necessarily formal; something suggestive of cocktail parties and carefree, laughter-filled evenings; something that takes effort but omits an aura of ease and self-assurance. It's a word one of my girlfriends would say to me when I got dressed up: in a very specific tone, full of little-kid awe and grown-up attraction, she would say, You look fancy. I knew that was a compliment, especially from someone who took pride in dirty fingernails and 10-year-old t-shirts. And it was her voice - both affirming and aroused - that went through my head as I began creating my piece for FANCY.
And also - the inauguration.
This performance was on January 25, less than a week after Trump's Inauguration. I went through all of the stages of grief around this time, with anger, denial, and sadness being the main three. There was no escaping the reality of the world at this moment, whether through performance or cocktail party or drunken escapade. Grief and despair followed me around very closely, and I couldn't relate to the word fancy (or anything else) without them.
This combination of things - self-assurance, arousal, denial, despair - were the ingredients of the piece. I used intuition to combine them, folding the past in with the present and stage-life in with real-life. The video below was recorded at the show and unfortunately there wasn't a single shot of the whole thing, but here is what I have.
aka "The Coming of Age of Cookie Monster"
This 3D Virtual Reality movie is a project I'm really proud of and it premieres tomorrow evening! A month ago my wonderful friend Josephine Decker came into town for three weeks during which she directed this strange, funny, unique work. I played many parts in the creation of the film - choreographer, actress, and dancer among them. I also hosted Josephine in my flat, and together we conceived of the film. With the support of Wolf Kino and help from people around the world, we created an 11-minute virtual reality journey that started with the question, "How would Sesame Street teach sex ed to kids?"
Find out tomorrow night at Wolf Kino in Neukölln!
THE NOTHING IS COMING
Wolf Kino // Wildenbruchstrasse 6 // 12045 Berlin
see you there!
I'm trying again - to keep a blog - in order to record some of the events, experiences, excitements, excesses, energies, early hours, and elements of life right now. Aaliyah and Timbaland support this. I encourage you to enjoy this track as you read these reflections.
This story begins in 2016. In numerology, 2016 is Year 9 (2+0+1+6=9), the end of a nine-year cycle that begin in 2008 (2+0+0+8=10, 1+0=1). Globally, 2016 was the end of the Obama years and the end of the European Union as we know it. David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael all died, and left us to mourn the void they left in the worlds of pop music and performance art, and, depending on your generation and proclivity for social deviants, your heart.
A lot of things also ended for me in 2016, including a two-and-a-half year relationship and thirty-three years of living in the US, my nation of birth. It was a year of challenges, surprises, and emotional trials. I lived in four different places, including a tent, and none of them felt like home. I met a lot of new people, my physical movement habits changed dramatically, and I made almost no money. These things are all distinct from one other and yet somehow related. They are each a result of the risk I took when I decided to move to Berlin. Somewhere along the way, I recognised that in order to meet all of these challenges, surprises, and emotional trials, I would need to let go - let die - some parts of myself.
Many times last year, especially when I felt lost and confused, the words "I don't know who I am anymore" floated through my head. This thought was the source of both terror and, somewhere deeper and quieter, relief. It was/is terrifying to not know who I am, because it leads me to question so much about my life and values and dreams and how I spend my time and how I treat myself and others and what I say and who and how I love and... you get the idea. It leads me to question everything and know nothing. It is a real ego-breaker. Not knowing who I was meant I didn't know what I had to give to others and the world. This insecurity can silence me, and there were many situations last year where I sat quietly, observing all the motion around me, all the while distancing myself from its swirling life, convinced I had nothing to contribute.
Now for the good part of being lost and confused. For one thing, it's such an honest experience of life (who hasn't felt lost and confused?), and accepting the processes of life - including the difficult ones - is so much easier than fighting them. For another thing, being quiet means that I got to observe not just myself but other people too - people from all over the world - and see how they do things differently. I learned so much! There's such freedom in letting go of the idea of that things are only done in one particular way (My Way) and witnessing, and adapting, to other ways. Plus, I have met and made friends with some of the most inspiring, creative, magical people I've ever known. Lastly, "I don't know who I am anymore" has allowed me to let go of some of the beliefs I had about how myself and others should be. This is where the relief rushes in, because when there isn't a belief that people/events/me/anything "should be" a certain way, I can appreciate so much more how things actually are.
I look back and wonder, How did I move through all this letting go, how did I let parts of myself die or even wilfully destroy them? The answer: hours upon hours of meditation and self-help podcasts; an everyday commitment to healing through food and movement; and a lot of trust. It was definitely not possible without the encouragement of two incredible communities of friends and family in Berlin and Durham, and the blessed combination of privilege and luck that conspired to allow me the time, resources, and support to take big risks.
Meanwhile, all that I've lost - all that has died - has left space in me for new things to grow. I've said yes to situations that I knew would make me uncomfortable in order to stimulate growth in new directions. I've practiced trusting my intuition in questions of art and love, emboldening my gut to guide my life in its own mysterious, creative way. And I've generally just chilled the f$*& out.
I don't know the future, but I do know that 2017 is a year of beginnings (2+0+1+7=10, 1+0=1). Already in its first three months I have reaped so many benefits of this awkward and wonderful dying/rebirthing project - including a month-long residency at an almost-abandoned nearly-defunct concrete factory in rural Germany, and a three-week long dance pilgrimage to Israel with a group of artists from around the world - and I have never experienced so much generosity and gratitude in my own and others' spirits. While it hasn't all been easy, and it hasn't all been perfect, there's a lot of beauty in this life, and I want to love it while I still have a chance to.
In loving memory of Tex Hobijn (1994-2017)
It's been about two months since I recorded this snowfall. In the background is music by Suzanne Ciani - it's called "Concert at Phil Niblock's Loft NYC 1975" and it is SPECTACULAR. I imagine this film being screened in a large dance studio somewhere as dancers improvise in front of it. It's best when only 8% of your attention is on the video, 13% of your attention is on the song, and the other 79% of your attention is wandering.