Vermont Performance Lab Artist Engages Women in Civic Dialogue

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LA-based choreographer Victoria Marks begins dance-film residency in Bellows Falls

Bellows Falls, VT (July 11, 2012) – Internationally known Los Angeles-based choreographer Victoria
Marks and filmmaker Ann Kaneko have kicked off a six-week artist residency to develop Action
Conversations: Bellows Falls -- a docu-dance film project featuring five youth and five adult women
from the Greater Bellows Falls community. Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) is producing the project
in partnership with Youth Services of Windham County. The Rockingham Arts and Museum Project
and the Town of Rockingham are providing additional support.

“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 two years ago. Marks
visited Windham County three times over the past 18 months to research and plan for Action
Conversations: Bellows Falls. In June, she returned with LA-based documentary filmmaker Ann
Kaneko to embark on a project that will bring young and adult women from the community into
an “action conversation.”

Marks employs movement as a powerful tool for self-expression and enjoys being inserted into
a civic dialogue. Her "action conversation" methodology offers avenues of self-exploration and
positive expression to help participants frame their relationships with themselves, their families and

For the five teen women who are participating in Action Conversations: Bellows Falls, this project will
serve as part of their job training with Youth Services’ summer youth employment program. With the
help of an advisory committee comprised of Bianca Barry/Youth Services, Kate Guerinna/Chroma
Technology, Cindy Larsen/VPL, Samantha Maskell/Rockingham Free Library, Robert McBride/
Rockingham Arts and Museum Project, Barbara Ternes/Parks Place, Allyson Villars/formerly with
Youth Services and Dutch Walsh/Town of Rockingham, Vermont Performance Lab recruited five
adult women to donate 60 hours of their summer to participate with the youth on the project.

“We are especially excited to be able to work with Vermont Performance Lab to place this project
in Bellows Falls, where the gap between marginalized young people and the community at large is
particularly wide,” explained Youth Services Youth Development Director Bianca Barry. “We’re thrilled
to provide an opportunity for these young women to experience working with two powerful female
artists like Vic Marks and Ann Kaneko.”

Action Conversations: Bellows Falls will culminate in a docu-dance film that will capture the stories
and reflections of these women and their community. The hope is that the project will help bridge the
gap between adults and youth and that the film will be shown locally and nationally and will have a life
and impact far beyond the duration of the project itself.

The Action Conversations: Bellows Falls project is made possible in part with funding support
from the Vermont Arts Council, the Copper Beach Foundation, the Oswald Family Foundation and
Vermont Performance Lab’s Creation Fund donors.

Related Events

Lab Talk Event: Screening of Against the Grain: an Artist’s Survival Guide to Peru with
filmmaker Ann Kaneko
WHEN: Thursday, July 19, 2012, 7:00-8:30PM
WHERE: Waypoint Center, located on Depot Street, diagonally across from the railroad station in
Bellows Falls VT
WHAT: Meet the filmmaker of Action Conversations: Bellows Falls Vermont Performance Lab
will screen Against the Grain, a recent documentary film by Los Angeles-based filmmaker Ann
Kaneko that explores the role of artists in society. Spanning two decades of corrupt governments
and inept leaders, this film tells the story of four inspiring Peruvian visual artists who defy a tyrannical
government that clamps down on free thinkers. Kaneko combines gritty Super 8 with raw verité
footage to capture the work of these artists to ignite change by challenging ordinary people to speak
out. These struggles and commitments raise the question: Is freedom of expression a right or a
privilege? Join us for the screening followed by a discussion with the filmmaker.
Event free and open to the public and is wheelchair accessible.

Presentation + Work-in-Progress Screening of Action Conversations: Bellows Falls
WHEN: Thursday, August 2, 2012, 7:00PM
WHERE: Bellows Falls Opera House, Bellows Falls VT
WHAT: This work-in-progress presentation of Action Conversations: Bellows Falls is the culmination
of a six-week Vermont Performance Lab residency led by choreographer Victoria Marks and
filmmaker Ann Kaneko, with teen and adult women participants from greater Bellows Falls. This event
will include an informal presentation and a work-in-progress screening of segments of a docu-dance
film of the project that captures the stories and reflections of these women and their community.
Vermont Performance Lab plans to present the premiere of Action Conversations: Bellows Falls in
Event free and open to the public and is wheelchair accessible.

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, and the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Ann Kaneko is an LA-based independent filmmaker, who has produced numerous award-winning
shorts and documentaries, which tell the stories of brave individuals trying to survive the odds.
Her projects have been funded by the Japan Foundation, Hoso Bunka Foundation and Durfee
Foundation. She has been commissioned to create media installations for the National Endowment
for the Arts, the Skirball Cultural Center, Japanese American National Museum and the Getty Center.
She has collaborated with choreographers Victoria Marks, Cid Pearlman and Kristen Smiarowski
on film and performance projects. She participated in the AFI Directing Workshop for Women and
received an MFA in film directing from UCLA.

Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) is a laboratory for creative research and community engagement.
Over the last five years, 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 500 students, 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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