2012 + 2014 Lab Artists: Victoria Marks + Ann Kaneko
Internationally known Los Angeles-based choreographer Victoria Marks employs movement as a powerful tool for self-expression and enjoys being inserted into a civic dialogue. She creates dances for the stage, film and for professional and non-professional movers. Marks’ performance works have considered the politics of citizenship, as well as the representation of both virtuosity and disability. These themes are part of her ongoing commitment to locating dance-making within the sphere of political meaning. Marks is a Professor of Choreography in the Department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA, where she began teaching in 1995. Over the course of her career, she has been the recipient of multiple grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation.
Marks created Veterans, Not About Iraq and Action Conversations — a collection of works that are about being a citizen and an artist during the Iraq War. Through a set of poetics only accessible through dance, these works question the place of the body in matters of heroics, valor and truth. In making Action Conversations, Marks employed dance as a way to bring veterans of the Iraq war and those opposed to the Iraq war into conversation with each other. Marks' “action conversation” methodology offers avenues of self-exploration and positive expression to help participants frame their relationships with themselves, their families and communities.
“Listen to your community and find out where there needs to be a conversation,” Marks told VPL Director Sara Coffey when the community-based project discussion began in 2010. Marks visited Windham County three times in 2010-11 to research and plan for Action Conversations: Bellows Falls. In June 2012, she returned with LA-based documentary filmmaker Ann Kaneko to embark on a six week project that brought young and adult women from the Greater Bellows Falls community into an “action conversation.”
Action Conversations: Bellows Falls culminated in a docu-dance film that captured the stories and reflections of these women and their community. The hope was that the project would help bridge the perceived gap between adults and youth. The film was shown locally and nationally and continues to have a life and impact far beyond the workshop residency in Bellows Falls.
The post-production and Windham County screenings of Action Conversations: Bellows Falls is made possible in part with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and Chroma Technology. VPL produced Action Conversations: Bellows Falls in partnership with Youth Services of Windham County and The Rockingham Arts and Museum Project with additional support from the Town of Rockingham with funding from the Vermont Arts Council, the Copper Beech Foundation, the Oswald Family Foundation and Vermont Performance Lab’s Creation Fund donors.