Pivot Arts 2020 FESTIVAL – Preview

June 5–30

Online pivotarts.org/festival

Pivot Arts, which aims to celebrate adventurous, multidisciplinary performance, is pivoting in the presentation of its eighth annual Pivot Arts Festival, in response to restrictions due to COVID-19. For this year’s Festival—subtitled This is How We Pivot—performances originally scheduled at venues in Chicago’s Uptown and Edgewater neighborhoods are shifting to online presentations premiering June 5–11, with content remaining available through June 30. Live events are postponed to future dates that will be announced.

As in prior years, this year’s festival includes performance art, immersive theatre, contemporary and street dance, hip-hop opera, dance created for film and video, animation and more.

Pivot Arts 2020 FESTIVAL
Pivot Arts 2020 FESTIVAL
The Era Footwork Crew. Photo by Wills Glasspiegel

“It’s essential for arts organizations to adapt and model resiliency and creativity during these challenging times,” says Founder and Director Julieanne Ehre. “While we cannot present the Pivot Arts Festival as we intended, we are creating a virtual space for artists and audiences to experience performance during this time of crisis.”

Following is an UPDATED schedule of virtual events and the dates they debut; all events will remain available through June 30:

Pivot Arts 2020 FESTIVAL
The Rosina Project Photo by Vin Reed

Friday, June 5

Noon – Red Clay Dance Company’s Resilience Reimagined

 Commissioned by Pivot Arts, Red Clay Dance Company presents a reimagining of its 2019 work Art of Resilience 2.0. Dancers will embody the original work recording video from their homes and site-specific spaces to further demonstrate strength and perseverance.

To provide a backdrop for these new performances, Pivot Arts also will post a recording of Art of Resilience 2.0, a site-specific, mixed-media and immersive activation of the DuSable Museum Roundhouse. Using movement, text, projections and soundscapes mixed by DJ Sadie Woods, the Urban Griots of Red Clay Dance guided the audience through a journey of Chicago’s Black Belt, the Stroll and the Black Arts Movement while disquieting the impact of redlining, restrictive housing covenants and state violence on black life.

Pivot Arts 2020 FESTIVAL
Drew Paryzer Photo courtesy of Drew Paryzer

Preview of IN THE WURKZ by The Era Footwork Crew

IN THE WURKZ is a touring dance performance based on the lives and dreams of young dancers on Chicago’s West and South Sides. This shorter recorded version of the evening-length piece unveils a history of footwork dancing, tracing its development from the holy ghost—the first footwork dance move inspired by spirit possession in Church—to a citywide, black teenage dance culture that keeps youth safe in dangerous neighborhoods across Chicago. IN THE WURKZ expounds on this dance history through the movements, poetry, films and memories of Chicago’s The Era Footwork Crew, with music by footwork DJs in the Teklife collective.


Pivot Arts 2020 FESTIVAL
Alex Alpharaoh Photo by Linda Blase

Saturday, June 6

6 p.m. – In Place, presented by Mandala South Asian Performing Arts. a world premiere made for video by movement artist Ashwaty Chennat and composer/percussionist Alvin Cobb, Jr., commissioned by Pivot Arts. Despite isolation, a connection is built through conversation, cultural learning and improvisation. Ashwaty Chennat explores movement inspired by classical Indian dance (Bharatanatyam), and Alvin Cobb Jr. draws from African-American music traditions and Carnatic rhythms and loops using a sample pad and drum set.

Sunday, June 7

Prison and Neighborhood Arts Project

The Long Term created by Chester Brost, Devon Daniels, Joseph Dole, Francisco “Paco” Estrada, Darrell W. Fair, R Dot Nandez, Damon Locks, C. McLaurin, Flynard “Fly 1” Miller, Andrés Reyes, Sarah Ross, B. R. Shaw, Bring and Johnny Taylor

 The Long Term, a hand-drawn animation video, uses personal narrative and research to describe the scale and impact of long-term sentencing policies. The work tells stories about the fear of dying inside, the feeling of being programmed by prison and the impact on family life from the perspective of 11 artists serving life or long-term sentences.

There will be a link to the film and a livestreamed discussion moderated by Jane Beachy, Artistic Director of Illinois Humanities, with creator Damon Locks, producer Sarah Ross, civil rights attorney Sarah Grady and artists and activists who have been impacted by long-term sentencing.

In/Motion International Dance Film Festival

In/Motion Executive Director Amy Wilkinson curates three short films:

  • Perfect Imposition by Daniel Williams and Katie Carey, United States, 2019: A portrayal of a young artist recognizing, realizing and accepting that their sex is the opposite of their sex at birth.
  • Traces by Alex Murrull, Spain, 2019: Two strangers share a room separately for hours at different times of the day. The loneliness they experience gradually breaks when they find objects each has left in the room. Through this contact, a relationship develops that resides between fantasy and reality.
  • Le Chorégraveby Jake Russell, France, 2017: A one-shot film portraying a Christmas dinner where connections between people are impossible, expressed through live music and dance.

Monday, June 8

(Un)Touched video performances

Curated by Julieanne Ehre and Tanya Palmer, these short video performances created in quarantine by Obie Award-winning solo performer David Cale and multi-genre performers Aaliyah Christina, Irene Hsiao, Olivia Lilley, Corey Smith, Darling Squire, Sister Sylvester and Anna Martine Whitehead capture both the absence and impossibility of touch and moments of connection during the quarantine.

Wednesday, June 10

Alpharaoh, Lidieth Arevalo’s documentary film about Alex Alpharaoh‘s national tour of WET: A DACAmented Journey

 WET is an autobiographical work by Alpharaoh about his experience as an undocumented American performing artist. Through his story, the film shines light on what it means to be an American in every sense of the word except on paper. Following the film, Alpharaoh will participate in a meet-and-greet via Zoom. The meet and greet requires a minimum $25 donation and reservation. An interview with Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) also follows the film.

Thursday, June 11

Livestreamed Festival celebration with Julieanne Ehre and Performances + Dance Party with artists from the popular hip h’opera, The Rosina Project, a collaboration between Chicago Fringe Opera and BraveSoul Movement, developed and produced by Pivot Arts.

Monday, June 15

Superfluxus, co-conceived by director Seth Bockley and writer Drew Paryzer; performed by Brianna Buckley, Alana Grossman, Alex Quiñones, H.B. Ward and Mary Williamson; created in collaboration with Tony Churchill, Hannah Foerschler, John Holmes, Nick Keenan and Melissa Schlesinger.

Superfluxus is an original sci-fi puzzling experience full of humor, suspense and mind-bending twists. Originally intended as an immersive theater and installation project, the artists have reimagined Superfluxus, during this time of social distancing, as a choose-your-own-adventure text and video Web experience, set in a surreal and sinister lunar landscape in the year 2120.

Pivot Arts 2020 FESTIVAL
Seth Bockley Photo by by Ashley Garrett
Pivot Arts 2020 FESTIVAL
In/Motion International Dance Film Festival: Perfect Imposition Directed by Daniel Williams and Katie Carey
Pivot Arts 2020 FESTIVAL
(Un)Touched performer Anna Martine Whitehead Photo by William Frederking

Free—donations encouraged, except when otherwise indicated.

For more information please visit the Pivot Arts website.

Top photos:

Red Clay Dance Company by Raymond Jerome; Prison and Neighborhood Arts Project by Flynard Miller

Share this:
  • 1

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *