Artist Statement


I generate movement from as many different places as possible. I make works that are varied in tone and texture in a way that mimics every day life – a concert between the designed and the accidental. I might give dancers scores to create movement, work with images drawn from visual art, or media, or create movement metaphors that speak kinetically to psychic or spiritual states. I make dances like meaning clouds, filling them up with droplets of movement, image, sound and text, trusting that they will come together to form something larger. Creating a dance is like hiking in the dark – I have faith that we will get there but along the way there might be stumbles, long detours and even forays into beautiful spots that will be evident later only in their psychic trace.

I am at a juncture between old and new ways of understanding dance as both process and art object. I remember, in a summer program, learning the running dance from Jose Limon’s Psalm and feeling that there was, embedded in the steps – in their rhythm and execution— something uniquely exhilarating. No one needed to act out exhilaration, or conjure it through lighting; it was there in the dance. I am interested in dance as conjuring. I am dedicated to the creation of movement vocabulary, and believe that the right movement can make us understand something—not by indicating what it means— but simply by being. This is how movement works in life. I do something not to convey that I am agitated or excited or pensive. I do what I do and as humans we can read, in those movements, the feelings that motivate them.

This intimate link, between gesture and experience is a powerful engine behind the dances that I make. I remember seeing Doug Varone’s Home when I was in college and being so affected by the realization that a “dance” needn’t contain dancing at all. It was everyday gesture, abstracted and performed, and it spoke volumes about the two characters and their relationship to one another. Since then, highly detailed gesture has

been a hallmark of my work. In Monster, our piece exploring the corporeal legacy of the Holocaust, there is a section where we turn our bodies into fleeting memorials. We say aloud the names of people that we have known and conjure them in our bodies. The specificity is what makes this section beautiful. We must fill ourselves with memories and allow every eyelash to be fully taken. Then, just as quickly, we must drain our spirit as we “disappear” our loved ones. This is painstaking labor.

Throughout my work there is an abiding interest in the past, and an engagement with the body as an archive for personal and social memories. There is a commitment to the exacting, physical labor of movement creation. There is strange and powerful imagery, as bodies and objects transform to become multivalent vessels for meaning. There is always something mildly funny and absurd. There is often something disturbing or gross. There is a dedication to dances that are messy and complicated and surprising and beautiful as the people who created them and the world in which they live.

Our skills

Teaching


I believe that educators have the potential and the responsibility to scaffold their students towards new skills, new ideas and new directions as artists and as people. I believe firmly that moments of newness —when one stumbles upon aptitudes and questions, knowledge and discourses that feel unfamiliar or revelatory—are the “payoff moments” of both education and art making. I have taught a variety of courses at Pasadena City College, Cal Poly Pomona, UCLA, and UC Berkeley. I teach choreography, improvisation, dance studies, dance history, pedagogy, and technique. I have also worked as an in-school teaching artist for organizations like Urban Arts Partnership and artworxLA. please see a variety of my syllabi, teaching reviews, and teaching videos below.

Contact


Rebecca Pappas, Artistic Director
Pappas and Dancers
510-599-2325
rkpappas at gmail

Support


Pappas and Dancers is a fiscally sponsored project of Dance Resource Center. Donate here by writing ‘Pappas and Dancers’ in the message to seller section.

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Thank you so much to everyone who helped us get to Portland! We are honored and overwhelmed.

Christine Suarez
Jen Feldheim
Raj Kottamasu
Arletta Anderson
Joan Altman
Jim Berger
Sarah Pappas
Michele and Bob Schurman
Moe Aimé Macarow
J. Ryan Stradal
Martha Feldheim
Dani Fox-Porter
Ceila Robbins
Alice Rutherford
Sara Ahmad
Alex Kenefick
Roland A. Chirico
Laura Peskin
Jelena Mrdja
Nancy and Paul Stone
Aaron Simms
Joan Pappas
Justin Counts
Jerry Tischleder
Becca Leigh Gellman
Barbara and Ken Leach
Louis Durra
Richard Something
Becca Klarin
Claudia Runge
Kristy Dietz
Annemarie Altman
Laura Noble
Nancy and Ted Pappas
Anthony Gatto
Nancy Thompson
Barry Feingold
Melanie Rios
Iradj Mehrmanesh

Press


We’re on TV! Watch us talk about a dance concerning itself with history and memory on the Portland Pick

The balloons continued to drift around the stage [and] demonstrate the frailty and transiences of memory. As the pair reconvened, words seemed to have fallen by the wayside. They closed the piece in silence. . . cradling and manipulating each otherԳ heads and faces as if probing for lost answers.-Ann Adams, Portland Monthly

Read about Monster in J. Magazine and in the Straits Times!

Hana van der Kolk and Krenly Guzman mesmerized in Pappas’ compelling “Monster: Portrait 5″… Combining halting, floundering movements with erratic, compulsive gestures, Pappas invoked the memory of former wars while detailing how the body remembers.-Sara Wolf, Los Angeles Times

Pieces were usually off-kilter, witty but also subversive…a promising talent.-Rita Felciano, San Francisco Bay Guardian

The provocative notion that a victim can become a victimizer, that a brutal act can justify another, propelled her choreography.-Kristina Dorsey, New London Day

Choreographed by Connecticut College alumna Rebecca Pappas, the 45-minute dance builds in tension as the dancers commandeer the stage in a tour-de-force, embodying two vastly different body types that symbolize the Jewish identity.- Sharma Howard, Norwich Bulletin

Choreographer and dancer Rebecca Pappas’s “Monster: Portrait 4,” was a serio-comedic snapshot of our inherent inhumanity… made for an effectively discomforting tableaux.-Laura Bleiberg, OC Register

Pappas and Dancers came as the most delightful surprise, with two works of contrasting tone but uniform quirkiness…a well-constructed comic riot.-Rachel Howard, In Dance

Shelton and Boes…grasped at each other as if to learn their secrets, fashioning finger-peepholes through which they peered, clasping each other’s forearms, holding each other closely, kneeling, scrutinizing…It was an intense investigation.-Janice Berman, San Francisco Chronicle

Doorjam, a rambunctious and cheeky portrayal of two teenage girls fawning over a ukulele-strumming crooner, [is] engagingly danced as well as vividly costumed and staged.- Veltman, San Francisco Bay Guardian

In this democratic public performance, as many as 250 locals dressed in monochromatic shades will converge on the Metreon’s top-floor balcony next Wednesday at noon.-Heather Wisner, San Francisco Weekly

About


I generate movement from as many different places as possible. I make works that are varied in tone and texture in a way that mimics every day life – a concert between the designed and the accidental. I might give dancers scores to create movement, work with images drawn from visual art, or media, or create movement metaphors that speak kinetically to psychic or spiritual states. I make dances like meaning clouds, filling them up with droplets of movement, image, sound and text, trusting that they will come together to form something larger. I believe that the right movement can make us understand something—not by indicating what it means—but simply by being.

I am at a juncture between old and new ways of understanding dance as both process and art object. Throughout my work there is an abiding interest in the past, and an engagement with the body as an archive for personal and social memories. There is a commitment to the exacting, physical labor of movement creation. There is strange and powerful imagery, as bodies and objects transform to become multivalent vessels for meaning. There is always something mildly funny and absurd. There is often something disturbing or gross. There is a dedication to dances that are messy and complicated and surprising and beautiful as the people who created them and the world in which they live.

News


Culture Lab SLJCC


Summer, 2014

We’ve been working all summer with project Culture Lab on the theme of Margins, for the Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center. Coming up on September 13th and 20th in Los Angeles, California. Watch out for details on the event! Like the Facebook page here

culture lab

Gertrude Pearlman Theatre


July 9, 2014

Headed down to Punta Banda, Mexico to the Gertrude Pearlman Theatre perform the duet a dance concerning itself with history and memory. Video seen below.

dance concerning

Invito Spectatore


June 10, 2014

Collaborated with poet, Brandon Som, turning speech into a choreographic act, while considering the mouth’s movement as an intimate and on-going performance. Invito_Spectatore

TRACKS-an evening of dance


June 8, 2014

Participated in TRACKS-an evening of dance in San Francisco with other artists including Alma Esperanza Cunningham. Created the solo birddance.

tracks

Lady solos


Creating a new piece for Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts  inspired by images of powerful goddesses, girl groups, and 1970s feminists.

inanna

The Invocation


I have been doing some super secret choreography for some super secret organizations of late.

The Invocation

1ObscuraSociety-Erin_Johnson

Monster


<< Back to Works

Called “compelling” and “mesmerizing” by the Los Angeles Times, Monster weaves theatrical, monstrous creatures, high-energy pseudo-folk dances, and probing questions about Jewish identity, shame, and what it means to be a victim and a victimizer.

Couds and Claves


<< Back to Works

c and c 1 from Rebecca Pappas on Vimeo.

 

a dance concerning itself with history and memory


<< Back to Works

Teaching Videos


Back to Teaching

PCC Beginning Modern Dance Combination

PCC Dance History: Social and Cultural Heritage

Freedom of Information – A collaboration with high school students

Fixing Dance: The Merce Cunningham Legacy Project


Generation Sweat: Revving the Engine of Commerce with Ryan Heffington Spring 2013