CHICAGO, November 6, 2017 Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble is thrilled to announce that we have been award a $50,000 grant for an international collaboration between Erica Mott Production and Ezzat Ezzat Contemporary Dance Company. We are thankful to be one of nine Chicago area arts organizations to be granted this award by the MacArthur Foundation.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today awarded grants to nine Chicago arts and culture organizations for diverse artistic exchanges in eight countries, including Mexico, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the United Kingdom. “Cross-cultural exchanges bring renewed perspective and vision to Chicago’s vibrant arts and culture organizations,” Chicago Commitment Director Tara Magner said. “International collaborations also help music, dance, art, and theater audiences understand other cultures better, offer a meaningful experience in a troubled world, and allow people to feel more connected to each other and their city.”
This collaboration started between Erica Mott Productions and Ezzat Ezzat Contemporary Dance Company with a residency exchange this past year that ended with a showing at High Concepts Laboratory.
The Mycelial Cycle is an interactive multimedia installation performance that investigates civic participation and social movements in the digital age, inspired by activists' use of social media during the 2011 occupation of Tahrir Square. Developed through a series of one-to-one cultural exchanges between American and Egyptian composers, computer programmers, dancers and new media artists, and augmented through local community workshops, The Mycelial Cycle will provide pathways to kinesthetic empathy and a platform for dialogue and deeper connection between local communities in Cairo and Chicago.
Mycelial - from the word "mycelium" - refers to the branching hyphae of a fungus, which form extensive communication networks that nourish entire forest root systems.
This metaphor aptly reflects the ethos of The Mycelial Cycle: creating a nourishing, multi-faceted network through the collaborative cultural production of three distinct companies of performance and media artists and their constituents. The artists aim to utilize the performers' bodies in real time to better understand collective living in a culture of instantaneity. By employing digital technology, dance and music, Mycelial will shine a light on different experiences of time as it relates to the body in action. This will serve as a catalyst towards dialogue, knowledge exchange and potential future relationship building between Egyptian and American dancers, musicians and coders.
Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble (CDE) has a history of engaging diverse Chicago communities through educational programs, workshops and performances that use the arts to encourage English literacy and cultural understanding. In light of recent political isolationism, the refugee crisis and proposed Muslim travel ban, CDE has become particularly interested in bridging local Chicago communities to the Arab world to reinforce Chicago's commitment to being a sanctuary city. The partnership with Erica Mott Productions (EMP) and collective exchange with Cairo-based Ezzat Ezzat Contemporary Dance Studio (EECDS) support the cross-pollination of new ideas and the sharing of vital resources between Chicago dance and theatre makers.
Between January 2018 and April 2018, CDE, EMP and EECDS will host a series of online video exchanges between Chicago and Cairo. These exchanges will develop creative content that respond to each other's choreography, a custom mobile device app and a live video feed that will be used in the final performance in July 2018. CDE will then look at how the 2011 occupation of Tahrir Square - the original inspiration behind the collaboration between EMP and EECDS - has inspired subsequent social movements like Occupy Wall Street and the Women's March using the same technologies.
The The Mycelial Cycle is apart of Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble's 17th season and will continue into their 18th season both themed "Art in Response.”
Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble (CDE) celebrates their 17th performance season, entitled, Art in Response. Art in Response focuses on the collection of voices of CDE and their response to the world. Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble's 17th performance season features new work, remounts and adaptations. CDE is one of the only multidisciplinary, arts organization creating works that elevate one voice, one story and one person at a time. Audiences should expect to feel challenged while watching a CDE performance leave feeling inspired. This 17th season promises to be honest and vulnerable, what CDE does best. #chicagocommitment #macarthur