For the first time, The Bell House partners with Choregus Productions’ Summer Heat International Dance Festival for its pioneering EXCHANGE Choreography Festival, July 26-28, 2018.
Since 2009, EXCHANGE has provided a meeting place for professional dance makers from around the country to share original modern dance creations and dialogue with their peers. The only festival of its kind in the region, this year’s event welcomes 18 professional choreographers from cities like St. Louis, Austin, Milwaukee, Washington, D.C., as well as Tulsa, to an intimate exchange of performance and conversation.
Audiences, in turn, will be welcomed inside the creative process, experiencing dance as a dialogue between inspiration and expression that has real-world impact beyond being simply an impressive physical feat.
This year’s EXCHANGE evolves away from the familiar concert performance experience and toward a rich and intimate look inside modern dance. It features three open-to-the-public modules at the newly renovated Liddy Doenges Theater that interweave informal dance showings with moderated discussions with the choreographers and performers.
“The fact that both our organizations seek to advance access to and appreciation of contemporary dance makes working together a natural fit,” said Ken Tracy, founder and director of Choregus Productions. “Our partnership entails shared space at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, cross-publicity, and an integrated schedule that will allow attendees of one festival to participate easily in the events of the other, including discounts for Exchange participants to Summer Heat performances.”
“The mission of The Bell House is to encourage the creation of new dance not just for its own sake, but for the sake of building and sustaining relationships—between artists themselves, between artistic practice and real life, and between artist and audience,” said Bell House founder and EXCHANGE artistic director Rachel Bruce Johnson.
“The Exchange Choreography Festival aspires to create a forum for those relationships through this event that interweaves performance, reflection, dialogue, and shared learning,” EXCHANGE curator and co-director Alicia Chesser explained. “It’s less about putting one’s work on display and more about the development of new kinds of understanding and connection in the ‘hows and whys’ of making work in the context of real life and real communities.”
“Artists who thrive create work that thrives, which in turn creates a community that thrives and then supports those artists, who continue the cycle,” Johnson said. “The work that is generated is a critical piece in this dynamic, but that work can’t exist unless artists themselves have a forum for dialogue about art, culture, and life.”