ED. 1, Moves When Folded
Welcome to FRONT. The pages in your hands are an offering of affection and imagination. FRONT is devoted to diving into the depths of our tangled affections for contemporary dance and harnessing the collective imagination of those who share these affections. FRONT is dedicated to creating an expansive container for capturing the swell of contemporary discourse surrounding the form. It is a space for the movement of ideas. We thank you for allowing them to find a curve, pursue a line, and swing freely through your consideration.
We have titled our inaugural edition, Edition 1: Moves When Folded. Collapse , double over, create space, open up, and turn the pages. We have started, in part, by beginning to capture a snap shot of our community; a chorus of voices speaking to their own conceptions of and connections to dance and performance. This is an ongoing project. Our design is to offer a publication that is open to a spectrum of contributors willing to take on the satisfying responsibility of stewarding FRONT ever forward.
Writing about dance forces a fundamental issue, the lack of a neat tailoring of defined language. We wrestle with and fully bask in this reality here. We invite you to do the same.
Danielle, Noelle, Robert, and Tahni
ED. 1 FEATURES: RICHARD DECKER (PDX), SEAN GRIFFIN (LA), TAHNI HOLT (PDX), LINDA K. JOHNSON (PDX), EMILY JOHNSON (MINNEAPOLIS), JUSTIN JONES (MINNEAPOLIS), SETH NEHIL (PDX), KAREN NELSON (SEA), LISA RADON (PDX), ALYSSA REED STUEWE (PDX), DANIELLE ROSS (PDX), WOOLY MAMMOTH COMES TO DINNER (PDX), THOMAS LEHMEN, DANIEL LEPKOFF, MGM GRAND + MANY MORE
Release date: 9/7/11
ED. 2, Vitus
We released the inaugural FRONT a year ago and watched it float between many hands. The conversations and connections that came out of the first edition extended well beyond what we had imagined. Print publications devoted to contemporary dance are all too rare, so FRONT got noticed. Thanks for the encouragement: Contact Quarterly, Conduit Dance, Inc., White Bird Dance, PICA, Nationale, Colleen Leonardi, Ann Cooper Albright and all of our supporters!
In the past months, we’ve been meeting in one another’s homes—or at bars—steering this paper forward by gathering written contributions from our peers in Portland and well beyond. We’ve softly focused this second edition on artists who provide platforms for other artists. We’ve gathered essays from itch + Meg Wolfe (Los Angeles), The Lucky Penny (Atlanta), Nomad Dance Academy (Balkans) and Performativity (Ukraine). These artist-run organizations have taken it upon themselves to nurture and manifest opportunity for present and future dance communities. Also in this second edition, you’ll find practitioners unpacking their doings in the Open 100; Conversation Chains linking creators, curators, dancers, collaborators and intellects; Photo Essays from close range; and the verve of live artists shaping their field.
Additionally, this year FRONT broadened its curatorial practices into event production through The Collision Series. Two performances brought together dancers, musicians, lighting designers and sound artists to improvise into the unknown, 45 minutes at a time. Left to their own devices, brilliant things happened: collective awareness, open builds, magic moments + hot, sweaty togetherness. Deep thanks to the artists, audiences and Conduit Dance, Inc. for supporting FRONT by way of The Collision Series. Your contributions have brought these pages to many eyes and minds.
Our process remains an experiment. It remains an open thing. It remains unstable, yet solidly intent on giving ideas. Here’s to ambitious discussions and awesomely interpretive paraphrases over lunch—paragraphs torn out and pasted into inspiration—copies for strangers! We hope you find something you like here. We hope you take issue with voices here. We hope you take issues with you to give away. Use your bag, binder, arms, hands. We present these words for you and for dance. More always.
Until next time,
ED. 2 FEATURES: MICHELLE AINZA (PDX), LARISSA BABIJ (KIEV), RYAN BOYLE (PDX), TRACEY BROYLES (PDX), FEYONCE/WAYNE BUND (PDX), GREGG BIELEMEIER (PDX), JAKE DIBELER (NYC), KEYON GASKIN (PDX), KEITH HENNESSY (SF), ITCH (LA), THE LUCKY PENNY (ATL), JIM MCGINN (PDX), NOMAD DANCE ACADEMY (BALKANS), KAJ-ANNE PEPPER (PDX), CHELSEA PETRAKIS (PDX), JAY SANDERS (NYC), DEBORAH SLATER (SF), FRANK SMIGIEL (SFMOMA), MEG WOLFE (LA) + MANY MORE
Release date: 11/14/12
Cover image photo: Keith Hennessy by Ian Douglas
ED. 3, Rubies
Welcome to Ed. 3—a ruffled ruby out of Portland, Oregon from four friends in the field. Here now a flare; a bright point on the table; an invitation into collected reflections; a jaunt amid geographies; an platform for endeavors in contemporary dance.
In 2013, Ed. 2 traveled far and wide, a big sea foam gift we put into as many hands as possible. In the summertime sun, our 3rd annual performance event, The Collision Series, again gathered Portland friends and families around dance—this time out on the terrace of Disjecta Contemporary Art Center. In Autumn, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art facilitated two new avenues for FRONT to build community and dialogue as Field Guide faculty and Resource Room residents.
All along, the edition in your hands was guided by constellations of curiosity. No sponsors, no boards, no prescribed remit—FRONT answers only to the interests of dance artists. This concentration brings to light a perspective often omitted from printed matter. FRONT is a broadsheet beacon connecting disparate dots into an array we like to see together. These pages catalyze articulations from the field and offer an indie vignette of contemporary dance none too far removed from the sweat, focus and inquiry of the studio.
As you wrangle with these cumbersome pages of noisy media, we hope you feel in good company. Ed. 3 samples the diverse range of voices presently pursuing creation in and around contemporary dance. We’ve reprised some favorites—Open 100, Alex’s Column, Visual Essays, Chain Conversations—while offering a hearty showcase to five brilliant spots on our collective radar. The ensemble of Eke, Kravas, Michel, Oslund and Flueras spans a wide web around our home base in Oregon. We’re honored this paper house could be a home to them. Last but not least, we present an assemblage for FRONT of previously published content from Andy Horwitz—our first reprint, stemming from conversations about balancing original content with smart redistribution.
It’s a deeply nourishing collection for us here in Portland. We hope it yields as much and more to you and yours.
Until next time,
ED. 3 FEATURES: SHERWOOD CHEN (LA), ABBY CRAIN (OAKLAND), KRISTY EDMUNDS (LA), ATLANTA EKE (MELBOURNE), FLORIN FLUERAS (BUCHAREST), EMMA KIM HADGDAHL (STOCKHOLM), ANDY HORWITZ (NYC), HEATHER KRAVAS (SEA), COLLEEN LEONARDI (COLUMBUS), NEIL MARCUS (BERKLEY), DANA MICHEL (MONTRÉAL), MARY OSLUND (PDX), NOELLE STILES (PDX), TESSA WILLS (SF), ELIZABETH WARD, WOBBLY/YULIA ARAKELYAN + ERIK FERGUSON (PDX) + MANY MORE
Release date: 12/8/13
Poster Image photo: Awkward Duets, Oslund + Co. by Julie Keefe and John Klicker (pictured: Margretta Hansen and Keely McIntyre)
ED. 4, Buoy
For FRONT’s fourth edition, we trespass outside artistic production, asking the dark rich waters of process:
What resources do communities self-engender to underwrite artistic inquiry? How is dance developed in the realms of privacy or friendship? What shines skulls and pelvic bowls diagonal from project-driven logics? When distinct roles elide, authorship blossoms into swells of interest, and the force of activity derails estimations of utility—where are you and what are you doing?
Now that we can’t tell the ground from the path, we’ve found our ripe beginning.
Contemporary dance makers often produce cultural works few capitalized markets demand and even fewer viable systems of distribution circulate. The lament is all too familiar. Yet there’s no small ambivalence toward these conditions of production either. The weak force of “the market” has led artists to generate rather exquisite enclaves that operate on alternative resources of time, attendance, participation, reciprocation, and on and on…
These often informal dynamics of cooperation and solidarity in support of artistic practice strike FRONT as one of the most developed and diverse terrains in contemporary dance ecologies. We’re here to give them some broadsheets. BUOY looks to the myriad strategies artists have employed, organized and innovated to enable and sustain artistic vitality.
This edition pays homage to two champions of the social potential surrounding performance: Performance Works NorthWest and AUNTS. Sail a few pages over to find three gorgeously distinct contributions on the theme from Arrington, Hewit and Joyner. A brand new section, Notes from the Field presents a trove of artifacts from the creative lives of contemporary dance makers. Now with a twist, ED4’s two "Chain Conversations" get Pacific—spanning the US West Coast bound North and South. From Houston, Rachel Cook of DiverseWorks delves into her curatorial vantage in a special report for FRONT. And finally, we offer a glimpse into FRONT’s recent Resource Room Residency at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.
What a crew. So happy you’re on board.
All our best from Portland,
ED. 4 FEATURES: LINDA AUSTIN/PERFORMANCE WORKS NORTHWEST (PDX), ALLIE HANKINS (PDX), KAJ-ANNE PEPPER (PDX), LAURA/LARRY ARRINGTON (SF), AUNTS (NYC), CHRISTINE BONANSEA (SF), RACHEL COOK (HOUSTON), JESSE HEWIT (SF), MONIQUE JENKINSON (SF), SIRIOL JOYNER (ABERYSTWYTH), HANA VAN DER KOLK (LA), TAISHA PAGGETT (LA), QUEEN SHMOOQUAN (SEA), KATE WALLICH (SEA) + MANY MORE
Release date: 11/22/14
A Newspaper Devoted to Contemporary Dance
FRONT, editions 1-4, utilized the old-school tactics of the broadsheet newspaper to explore the new, current and future energy of dance theory and practices. FRONT was co-conceived and created by Tahni Holt, Danielle Ross, Noelle Stiles, and Robert Tyree as a platform for contemporary dance—giving voice to many different opinions and playing with modes of distribution. FRONT acts as a performance in which the form stays the same but the format is ever shifting to directly meet the needs it instigates. It is an experiment.
FRONT: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.frontpaper.tumblr.com
FRONT design: Noelle Stiles, Ed. 1-4
"FRONT has the zeal of a zine but with a professional design quality to beat. Their mission?: “Bringing a larger dance conversation to Portland and bringing Portland into a larger dance conversation.” The forthcoming issue includes contributions from Ukrainian dance troupe Performativity, LA dancer Meg Wolfe, Jay Sanders (co-curator of the 2012 Whitney Biennial)". - JENNA LECHNER, Portland Mercury
"FRONT, an amazing Portland newspaper devoted to sharing dialog from the contemporary dance world"...
- STANCE, Journal of Choreographic Culture
"Assuredly brainy, introspective and genuine..."
- Celina Russell, The Oregonian/OregonLive
THE COLLISION SERIES
THE COLLISION SERIES is an extension of FRONT’s experiments in dance, performance, and community. FRONT annually instigates an unpredictable group of dancers, musicians, and lighting designers to come together and improvise a series of performances. In true experimental form, FRONT produces the potential for dance and then gets out of the way; leaving behind few ground rules. The performers are left to their own devices in the lead-up to the performance. They can strategize or not, organize restrictions collectively, individually, or go forth in bold blindness. FRONT gathers some of Portland’s most intriguing artists together under daring circumstances, presenting impressive quantities of talent pushed off balance. What transpires is anyone’s guess but it promises to be a spectacular collision. All proceeds support FRONT.
THE COLLISION SERIES, 2013
DISJECTA CONTEMPORARY ART CENTER COURTYARD
8371 N Interstate Ave. Portland, OR 97217 (WWW.DISJECTA.ORG)
$10-$50 (Sliding scale)
Feel free to bring a picnic. | Snacks for sale.
DANCERS: Linda K. Johnson, Noelle Stiles, Tahni Holt, Danielle Ross, Jessica Kelley, Kaj-Anne Pepper, and Sally Garrido-Spencer.
SOUND CURATED BY: Nate Query (Decemberists/Black Prairie).
James Fielder, Rebecca Gates, James Beaton, Kyleen King + more
Special thanks to our sponsor: DISJECTA
THE COLLISION SERIES, 2011
FRONT CURATES A 2 PART SERIES OF IMPROVISED PERFORMANCE COLLISIONS
PART I - April 29th, 7pm (Sunday)
PART II - August 5th, 7pm (Sunday)
CONDUIT DANCE, INC.
Special thanks to our sponsor: Conduit Dance, Inc.
Photo: FRONT, Time-based Art Festival Resource Room, 2012
Photo: Chelsea Petrakis, Collision Series, 2013