Second Edition of Progressive Performance Festival Brings Socially Conscious Art to Street Level, September 4-6, 2015

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Vermont Performance Lab presents international, national and local artists
in performances that bring us to unexpected places

Brattleboro, Vermont – A downtown walk choreographed by your smartphone, a hybrid woman-hyena creature from the future, and the simple comfort of white, cotton socks.

All are offered for the entertainment and illumination of those attending the second edition of the Progressive Performance Festival, taking place September 4-6 in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont.

Produced by Vermont Performance Lab, this year’s festival presents three works by critically-acclaimed artists that touch on themes of social justice and cultural memory, and shift the way we relate to our hand-held devices: The Round by Martin Chaput and Martial Chazallon; Schwanze-Beast by Carmelita Tropicana and Ela Troyano; and 2125 Stanley Street by Dahlia Nayar.

VPL founder and director Sara Coffey says each piece is staged in a time and place that enables audience members to immerse themselves in what has been called “one of the 10 best art towns in America.”

“All the artists have researched and developed work in Southern VT through VPL residency programs. They know the people who live or visit here seek artistic experiences that engage their emotional core and their intellect,” says Coffey. “We invite every one to ‘Join the Movement’ on Labor Day weekend!”

Advance tickets for performances and more information about the festival, including travel/lodging options in the area, are available at Tickets will also be available at VPL’s offices on 139 Main Street in Brattleboro starting August 3.

The Round invites audiences to make “the rounds” of a town using smartphone technology as a “choreographic tool” that will guide them to travel pathways, explore spaces, and experience downtown Brattleboro in a new way. Created partly in collaboration with local Brattleboro residents, the work aims to challenge our perception of familiar places and shift the way we relate to our smartphones. The Round will run Friday September 4 – Sunday, September 5, daily from 12-5pm with performance departures leaving every 15 minutes.

Since 2014, Carmelita Tropicana and Ela Troyano have been working in VPL’s Lab to research and develop their latest hybrid theater work Schwanze-Beast. Veterans from the downtown NY film and performance scene, their latest project, Schwanze-Beast is equal parts performance, scientific lecture, and installation where the future becomes a lens through which to examine our present cultural landscape. Performances start at 7:30pm on Friday, September 4th and Saturday, September 5th at the New England Youth Theatre.

Northampton-based choreographer Dahlia Nayar returns to Vermont to present 2125 Stanley Street, a dance and sound installation that taps into notions of cultural memory in the context of home. Partially developed in VPL’s Lab in 2013 with dancer Margaret Paek and composer/musician Loren Kiyoshi Dempster, there will be one PPF Opening Night performance on Friday, September 4 at 5:30pm at The Dianich Gallery. This event is free and no reservations are required.

Support for VPL’s 2015 Lab Season is made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New England Foundation for the Arts, the Vermont Community Foundation, the Vermont Arts Council, the Foundation for Contemporary Art, the Samara Fund of Vermont and VPL’s Creation Fund Donors. VPL's Progressive Performance Festival celebrates Vermont Arts 2015, in celebration of public funding for the arts. 


Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) is a laboratory for creative research and community engagement. Since 2006, VPL has brought artists of regional, national and international stature to the grange halls, studios and classrooms of rural Vermont through its innovative artist residency program. Last year VPL’s community and education programs served more than 1,700 students, young professionals, families and seniors in Windham County through workshops, informal performances and art-making experiences. VPL often partners with local organizations to host such residencies and create meaningful connections between artists and communities.
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Projet In Situ, Carmelita Tropicana + Ela Troyano, Dahlia Nayar
WHEN: Friday September 4 – Sunday September 6
WHERE: The Dianich Gallery, New England Youth Theatre + various locations in downtown Brattleboro
WHAT: Join us for a three-day festival featuring a variety of artists from as near as Northampton MA to as far as Lyon, France and performance experiences that call attention to the place and time that we live in.
TICKETS: $15 ($10 students) available August 1st at or in person starting August 3rd at Vermont Performance Lab, 139 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT (enter street level down the alley at the corner of High Street and Main Street).


Dahlia Nayar's works have recently been selected for the Venice Biennale/Danza Venezia Showcase for Emerging Choreographers, Dance Place in Washington DC, the 2012 Next Stage Dance Residency at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in Pittsburgh, and the Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn, NY. In addition, her site specific projects have been performed at the National Botanical Gardens, the Kennedy Center and the Complejo Cultural, in Puebla, Mexico. She was a National Dance Project Regional Dance Lab artist in 2007. From 2008-2010, she received the Jacob Javits Fellowship during which time she received her MFA in Dance/Choreography from Hollins University. She has been a guest artist at Salem State College, College of the Holy Cross, Long Island University in Brooklyn, Marymount Manhattan College and Duke University. Her most recent work, 2125 Stanley Street, has been supported by a Vermont Performance Lab residency, a Bates Dance Festival New England Emerging Choreographer Residency, and a National Dance Project Special Projects Grant. A preview of the project recently toured the West Coast in August 2014.

Martin Chaput
After training in dance in Montreal, Martin Chaput settled in France where he worked most notably with Jean-Perreault, Philippe Genty, Claire Jenny, Thierry and Marion Bae, Luc Perrot, Rémi Uchéda, associating dance and working with materials, and setting up plastic arts. Since 1999 he has created his own projects where he questions the privacy of the dancer, his cultural and social identity in a
choreographic research of intimate and urban corporality.

Martial Chazallon
Since the creation of "Wake Up!" in South Africa in 2000, Martial Chazallon has been exploring reinvesting urban spaces through art installations and dancers’ bodies, and how creative processes can work to transform the places and their original purposes. After training in dance in Montreal, Martin Chaput settled in France, where he worked most notably with Jean-Perreault, Philippe Genty, Claire Jenny, Thierry and Marion Bae, Luc Perrot and Rémi Uchéda.

In 2001 Martin and Martial gathered TOGETHER dancers, visual artists, and composers around an artistic project that questions the importance of the body, the positioning of the body, the forms of meeting, confronting new places and new artistic languages each time they meet. Several creations followed swiftly: Du Haut created in Paris (2000), Manège created in Damascus (2001), Wake Up! Johannesburg (2001). Then the project in “the 4 M’s” researched the subject of urban and personal corporality: in Mexico (2002) the creation of, Appartement témoin in Montreal (2005), Taxidermie in Maputo (2007) which was replayed at the Merlan, the national stage of Marseille, and also at the Centre Choréographique National de Rillieux-la-Pape Co. Maguy Marin (Taxidermie # 2),Do You See What I Mean? created in 2005 in Marseille (Merlan, scène nationale) then in Lyon (Biennale de la danse 2008), Montréal (FTA 2010), Genève (Festival Antigel 2011), Paris (La Villette 2012), Vancouver (PuSh Festvival 2013) ; Diorama premiered in May 2011 at Centre National de la Danse (Pantin) during Les Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales de Seine Saint Denis and Mobile Promenade in 2011 and 2013 for festival Micro Mondes in Lyon.

Carmelita Tropicana (a.k.a. Alina Troyano) is a performance artist, playwright, and actor. Troyano burst on New York's downtown performing arts scene in the eighties with her alter ego, the spitfire Carmelita Tropicana and her counterpart, the irresistible archetypal Latin macho Pingalito Betancourt, followed by performances as Hernando Cortez's horse and la Cucaracha Martina from her childhood fairytales in Cuba.

In Tropicana's work, humor and fantasy become subversive tools to rewrite history. Tropicana's performances plays and videos have been presented at venues such as the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, Centre de Cultura Contemporanea in Barcelona, the Berlin International Film Festival, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, Dance Theater Workshop, the Mark Taper Forum's Kirk Douglas Theatre and the Studio Museum of Harlem. Her work has received funding support from the Independent Television Service, the Jerome Foundation, and the Rockefeller Suitcase Fund. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships including the Anonymous Was a Woman Award, The New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, the Teddy Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival, and an Obie for sustained excellence in performance.

Ela Troyano is an interdisciplinary filmmaker, born in Cuba and based in NYC. Troyano is currently developing a new feature film project and co-editing a book of essays on the legendary Afro-Cuban pop singer La Lupe. Upcoming shows include a three-day event in November at the 80WSE Gallery curated by Jonathan Berger titled Recycling Atlantis, a collaboration with Uzi Parnes and Carmelita Tropicana on the work of legendary filmmaker Jack Smith.

The Arsenal in Berlin presented a career survey of Troyano’s work in 2012 including rarely seen films from the 1980’s. Recent shows include live film performances at the New Horizons Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland (2011) and Berlin International Film Festival (2010). She collaborated with her sister, performance artist Carmelita Tropicana on Post Plastica, a performance presented at the Colony Theater in Miami (2013) and at El Museo del Barrio and commissioned by Performance Space 122 in New York (2012).

Her films include the PBS documentary La Lupe Queen of Latin Soul, the cult feature Latin Boys Go To Hell, award winning short Carmelita Tropicana Your Kunst is Your Waffen (Your Art Is Your Weapon) and the expanded cinema performance The Silence of Marcel Duchamp with music by John Zorn. Troyano has worked as a writer/director in film, theater and television and improviser in experimental music and dance. She attended writing workshops with Maria Irene Fornes at INTAR and Gabriel Garcia Marquez at Sundance. Select awards include funding from Creative Capital, the Ford Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), Rockefeller Fellowship, Independent Television Service (ITVS), the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), the Theo Westenberger Award and United States Rockefeller Fellowship.