Dinner at Martha & Jeff's

Submitted by Colleen Clark on Sat, 01/20/2007 - 00:15.

 I just ate a wonderful dinner at Martha & Jeff's, and Jeff insisted that I log on to RealNeo to blog about dance in Cleve and around the country.

I got to brag about performances I've done in Northeast Ohio and elsewhere costumed in nothing but mud or shrink wrap, and wax rhapsodic about the history of rock n roll dancing and how I got to twist w/Chubby Checker in Columbus OH back in 1982...

Anyway the food was fabulous and the conversation varied and  a good time was had by all.
more later...maybe-I'm really not too into the whole blogging thing.

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This lady uses her hands to co-describe complex dance movement along with her verbal description.  While you "hear" what she says your  eyes are  entranced by  articulating wrists and flexing finger tendons.  She described "high risk dance" in which concrete blocks are tossed between the dance performers.   I knew nothing of this and so I blamed Norm because REALNEO had not introduced me to this avante guarde art.  Norm demonstrated that RN does have Quick Time video capacity, challenging Colleen to get "high risk" video performances on her blog.  For the sake of the performers!

high risk dancing

Last night we talked about high risk dance (Colleen, Jeffrey and I had been to see “Stomp the Yard"). I mentioned early high risk dance such as a work by I thought Yvonne Rainer. Colleen, you said it was Trisha Brown and you remembered correctly. For everyone’s edification, here is an interview with Trisha that has a photo of Man Walking Down the Side of a Building.


Interestingly, Trisha Brown visited Cleveland on two memorable occasions. Once in 1984 as part of a collaboration between Cleveland Contemporary Art (then under the directorship of founder Marjorie Talalay) and Dancecleveland. Her company performed a work called “Set and Reset” here is an unsatisfactory video clip of the dance. The show at Cleveland Contemporary Art Gallery, then on Bellflower Road in University Circle was a retrospective of works by Bob Rauschenberg who collaborated on “Set and Reset”. If you can stand to watch this  itty bitty clip from WGBH Boston, you will see that then Trisha was still working with the idea of walking not with feet aground, but in other planes.


This concert was sold out at the newly refurbished State Theater of Playhouse Square. In the write -up in Dancemagazine the next month, was mentioned the 20 minute hold time for the curtain due to the long lines at the box office. Music by Laurie Anderson and sets and costumes by Bob Rauschenberg had interested a younger and more artistically diverse crowd than Dancecleveland events usually garnered. Many artists were there and signed on for the remainder of the Dancecleveland season. They did not re-subscribe however because the return to a safe season of 1950s style works and companies disappointed these already well into postmodernism artists and music lovers.


Trisha Brown Company  visited again in 2001 right after 9/11. Their flight out of NYC was delayed and so was the concert, but they came and delighted audiences again with Trisha’s innovative thought provoking and beautiful work. Colleen and I had a chance to chat with Trisha after the show and feel connected with what is poorly supported here in Northeast Ohio – fresh ideas in the dance field.


Colleen was long known as the “Queen of Rock and Roll Dancing” in Cleveland. She is the host of contact improvisation jams and workshops in Cleveland which regularly take place in the University Circle area on Sunday afternoons. Still innovating after all these years… Colleen and her cohorts Laura Chapman (a founder of the form "contact improvisation" which has revolutionized dance) and Larry Muha can sometimes be seen in performance in unlikely places in Cleveland. We caught them at the Greenhouse just off Martin Luther King Boulevard last winter and hope to se a performance coming up in the Greystone complex on Superior at East 40th. Seeing Colleen perform there will be like a homecoming. When I first met Colleen back in the late 70s, she and her dance partners were rehearsing and presenting works in the building in collaboration with The Styrenes.

(There's an MP3 of Drano in Your Veins at the Styrenes link above. You have to imagine Colleen dressed only in Saranwarp perfoming to this song at Pirates Cove in the Flats -- I didn't see it, but have heard about it. These are tales of a bygone era.)

Those were the days! We were fearless. It was high risk dancing then, and though it can be hard to locate today, I bet there is some out there. Write in and let us know about it.



aerial climbing chain saw tree cutting

John Boyd from Nelson Tree clearing power line right of way for First Energy.  If you have never done this it should be pointed out that there are numerous ways to screw up. If the tree splits vertically before it is completely sawn through the trunk may rip down its middle taking the rope which is around your waist and crushing your torso against the trunk.    Then there is kick back from the saw which is always lurking, ropes which may abraid, accidentally cutting your own safety line with the saw, etc. etc. etc.  Ironically, falling is the least of your worries.

When the log is ready to launch, there is lots of tension in the pit of your stomach - did you plan everything correctly?  Hope so...ttiimmbbrrrrr!

dance and develpoment in the Warehouse District

MegLouise Dance has teamed up with Cleveland developer David Perkowski to present a series of "Sneak Reviews"at various downtown locations.  '

Our first project will be in February at the Erie Building (www.eriebuilding.com) in the warehouse district. Future installments will be in larger spaces in Tower Press and The Hyacinth Buildings.  We are looking for interested choreographers to present work at these events.

Sneak Review will feature dance or movement based works-in-progress by local choreographers.  Ideally, works will be between 5 and 10 minutes in length. Works may be set or improvised.  Works in the first performance must use no more than the 17 x 22 loft space.

Community members will be invited to the Erie Building for food, drinks, good company and an informal evening of dance. There will be short breaks between pieces to allow audience members and other artists to ask questions and give feedback.  We will advertise a
suggested donation, but there is no ticket price for the event.

For choreographers without companies, this is a chance to present work without production hassles.  For choreographers with local dance companies, this is an  excellent chance to get to know your audience and further promote your work.  We also hope this series will encourage choreographers to take risks and try new things.

For Questions or to Schedule Auditions, Contact: Megan Pitcher, artistic director, MegLouise Dance Group

Megan Pitcher is a performer, choreographer and dance instructor.  Pitcher received her BFA in dance from Ohio University and has performed modern dance works by Gabriel Masson, Tere O’Conner, Susan VanPelt and others.  Her work has been presented by Bates Dance Festival in Maine, Muskegon Civic Theater in Michigan, Cincinnati Fringe Festival, Cleveland State University, Richland Academy and The Movement Organization in Ohio.  She is artistic director of MegLouise Dance and produces her own work throughout the Midwest.  Pitcher has taught various styles of dance for Cuyahoga Community College, Ohio Dance Theatre, Dancing Wheels, Ohio State University Mansfield, Ohio University, Ohio Dance Festival, The Beck Center and Richland Academy.  She teaches master classes for public schools and other public service agencies.

meglouisedance [at] yahoo [dot] com

Feel free to pass this call for works on to other dance/movement artists.

Details about the Erie Building Space: room for 50 audience members + performers approximate 16 x 20 performance space wood floor performance space, carpet in others standing and seated audience space separate living room area for informal talk back 2 bathrooms and 1 bedroom for changing/makeup area

The performance will be in Loft 404.  It is a model loft and can be viewed on Saturday's before 3pm. Contact building management for an appointment: 216.215.7129.

Nice development for dance

This is a cool partnership. David is developing an old dairy across from the Hyacinth to include space designed for dancers - it would be worth interviewing him about his plans.

Disrupt IT

Thanks for sharing your knowledge

Saturday was such a fun evening! I never expected to learn so much about dance. The conversation made me really miss the performance arts festival. Thanks Colleen and Susan for sharing you knowledge.