The poetry foundation website brings up 1250 poems with the subject “the body.” There are 1519 on the subject of “death.” I click on “the body” first. This feels obvious.
Your first parent was a star. - Jeanette Winterson
The undergird asks: where does one body end? when does one body end and another begin?
Stemming from Foley's seven year development of action is primary, a solo improvisational performance practice, The undergird explores where grief lives in the body and how it is entangled with memory, magic, and imagination. The work exists in two versions: a solo (action is primary study #4) and a co-authored quartet (action is primary study #5).
The undergird began as a solo -speech that is a dance that is a speech- about mortality, birth, earth monuments, and the immediate, omnipresent body, alone, in congress, and all that it's not. The quartet wraps group material from Togetherish (action is primary study #2) around the edges of the solo score to look at the choreography of being together and the choreography of groups as we, the group members, simultaneously examine our own experiences of loss, closeness, and bodily change and see how they bump up or align with one another.
First a solo, then a group, then a solo again for the October 2018 performance, The undergird (solo) is the residue of a multi-iteration process: first a solo dance exploring an improvised speech about mortality, time and multiple presents, intimacy and energy fields, and the embodiment of the intention/the need to communicate. Then it became a quintet, performing collective care around experiences of grief and emotional need as choreographic structure, and finally a solo that has passed through these iterations, reconfigured and embedded within, magnified and obscured by, and passed through these processes. What do we carry forward? What parts of others' bodies do we carry inside us when they are no longer there?
The project is driven by action is primary, an improvisational approach to making in the moment Meg has been practicing since 2010.
The undergird (solo) - 2018 Choreography and performance Meg Foley Lighting design consultation Natalie Robin Lights Katelan Braymer Costumes Allison Pearce
The undergird (group) - 2018 Concept and project leadership Meg Foley Direction, choreography, and performance Meg Foley, Drew Kaiser, Jungeun Kim, Natalie Robin, and Annie Wilson Text performers, with additional text by Joshua Beckman and Matthew Dickman Lights Natalie Robin Costumes Allison Pearce Set Meg Foley and Natalie Robin Process facilitator Jennifer Bullock Process contributor Mina Zarfsaz
The undergird (group) was presented by the 2018 Philly Fringe Festival, in partnership with Icebox Project Space at Crane Arts, and co-produced by Oliver Nicholas. As a solo, The undergird has been performed at Flowchart (Toronto,) Vox Populi Gallery (Philadelphia,) Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (Asheville, NC,) and PAM (Los Angeles.)
Development support provided in part by a Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Grant, University of the Arts, a Dancemakers Centre for Creation Residency (Toronto), Icebox Project Space, and by The Kate Escape.
The project is sustained by the generous contributions of: Lindsay Browning, Shannon Murphy, Alice Souvannarath, Mark Kennedy, Nicholas Croft, Sparkle Sooknannen, Nicole Marie, Steven L. Johnson, Ryan McCartney, Tim Belknap, Jacques-Jean Tiziou, Silva Laukkanen, Ellen Chenoweth, Jane Friedman, Kate Seethaler, Patricia Kennedy, Bethany Cann, Laura McKenna, Abby Zbikowski, Sandra Garner, Mark Tomlinson, Marla Zipin, Taisie Berkeley, Benjamin Abraham, Katrina Atkin, Olivier Kamanda, Amber Cowan, Adele D'Ari, Lynn Fletcher, Laura Lukasewycz, Amelia Longo, Anna Badkhen, Ashley Lippolis, Bob Oliveti, Brad and Kim Bates, Carroll Metzger, Charlene Dougherty, Charlie and Lydia Whitehead, Debbie May, Fernando Cruz-Villalba, Gail Abrams, Gail Marshall, Germaine Fraser, Janet Studley, Jason Wadsworth and Sonya Green, Jennifer Bullock, Joanna Quigley, Joe and Marlene Lee, Kirsten Van Vlandren, Lamya Kamel, Linda Caruso Haviland, Linda Donovan, Margaret Ayres, Meryem Alaoui, Nikolaj Christensen, Olivier Kamanda, Patricia Dominguez, Ramon and Marta Daubon, Rick and Mary Beth West, Rima Faber, Rob Sorey and Taylor Mayo, Sarah AO Rosner, Silva Laukannen, Stef Gentile, Vicki Viramontes-LaFree, Zoe Cohen. THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!
For booking inquiries regarding The undergird (solo), please email Meg Foley at firstname.lastname@example.org.