#22 – Nexus at UWM Serr Studio

On Sunday 2/23/20 , nine performers gather to explore spontaneous collaboration at UWM’s Serr Studio. This 22nd installation of Hyperlocal MKE is inspired by the vital connection that is galvanized in improvisation – the concept of nexus. Much like our hyperlocal mission, nexus elucidates how reciprocity designs our container; to make, share, and commune in the same moment both forms and shapes the experience. Spontaneous collaboration after years of practice reveals to us a simple notion. All we know and do mean nothing if not in intentional relation to our environment. As we move, sound, observe, react, sustain, interact, call and respond to each other, we cultivate connections that form idiosyncratic yet vital links. These links remind us that we are have different ideas, voices, influences, and ways of supporting others.

There is one special feature for this installment. We met for three jam /work sessions. This was less for solidifying a reproducible event, but more for honing our sensitivities to the way each performer translates ideas and feelings. Before every performance, we usually meet for one session – which is a furious storm of “who is where” and “what is the score”. We are much more relaxed this time. And we are usually pretty relaxed.

In honoring a tradition we sometimes call forth, I’ll share with you some prompts for our scores. Initially used for warm ups, these originated from Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies. We have modified them as we wanted throughout our developments. Here are some nuggets: move at a different speed, two sides to a line, go slowly around the outside, cut a vital connection, find something comfortable and use it as an anchor, one dot at a time. Additionally, we’ll be playing with beginnings, identifying singular ideas and supporting them, and deep listening in quartets. I’ll close with this photo of Joelle and I from the first or second Hyperlocal performance in 2014. I think reveals the heart of what is vital in our improvisations- presence, vulnerability, tenderness, space, boundaries and connections. Joelle Worm has performed and contributed to the development of 21 of the 22 Hyperlocal performances (and so much more). She is a vital leader, coach, instigator, trickster, supporter, the first to say “yes” to everyone’s ideas, and also the first to break each and every rule. I am eternally grateful for her artistry, her dancing, her politics, and mostly her friendship.

Maria and Joelle in 2014, Hyperlocal #1 Encounter: Photo by James Tomasello

Top Photo: Hyperlocal – Cohere from a performance at Hawthorn Contemporary Gallery. Pictured: Dan Schuchart, Alfonso Cervera (sitting), Mair Culbreth, Gabriel Adnes Maxwell, Maria Gillespie, and Katelyn Altmann.


#20 – COHERE

3/2/19 – Today is our 20th Hyperlocal MKE we feature seventeen improvising collaborators! Our prompt is “Cohere” – each of the three ensembles have developed a score based on this.  Also we have a new trailer by Nate Greely!

Score #1

  •  Funnel –>chaotic and ends in unity with one collective  idea.
  •  Individual solo voices congregate in Funnel
  • Duets → Have 2 duets
  • Gradually cohere to a unified group with one idea
  • Flocking

Score #2

  • CLING on to an idea from Same, Same — make it sticky
  • FUSE sticky ideas (systems working in a unit)
  • Fusions interlock and turn into group mass (coherence)
  • Ending— 3 pulses meaning exit for dancers / silence for musicians is pulse.                + Mass-ness is happening… sonic drop out

Score #3  ** overarching theme of CONTRAST of chaos / cohere -Disconnect to Connect


  • Scramble  (passing in between, making space for chaos to be ordered)
  • Contact Point   (touch or sound impact)
  • Clump/Stick to sculptural formations
  • Flock  → (find group rhythm/repetition) renegade scuttle/stillness

Hyperlocal #18 WITNESS

For our eighteenth performance, we will be thinking through ideas and manifestations of being a witness. Since an intrinsic component of Hyperlocal is collaboration, the performers have wired themselves for observation and response. After seeing Chip Duncan and Mohamed Amin’s exhibition, Inspiring Change at the Charles Allis Art Museum, I wondered how much of seeing and documenting is legible in our performances. Being a witness is not passive role – it is an act of agency to be present, to hold space, to give others space, and thus through our embodied act of showing up, we create an energy around others that need it or deserve it or want it. What does it mean to document with our bodies, with our practice? And who is allowed or privileged to be a witness – to have their testimony allowed, heard, and believed? How can we, as citizen artists, create a space for our practice to be a testimony to the lives and truths that are important to us? And how can art direct attention to that which needs to be experienced?   As a dancer, much of the time what I am doing/dancing and feeling/thinking may not be legible or even valuable to spectators. But I do it anyway, believing that bodies commit to truths daily, constructing the world we want to live in – with our bodies. We get better at what we practice. So WITNESS is about seeing and listening and helping spectators experience listening and seeing as acts of witnessing…meaning what you do, attend to, respond to gains power. Duncan and Amin’s portraits are powerful and beautiful. They are evidence in and of themselves but they must be seen to be known. So be sure to see the work – and if you can see it alongside of music and dance…. double bonus.  Inspiring Change – The Photography of Chip Duncan and Mohamed Amin  runs through October 21. We perform alongside and attend to their work on Sunday 9.30.18. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Merleau-Ponty… “To carry out an act is to catch its significance”. Being a witness, creating space for something valuable, listening deeply, and attending to are powerful acts.  If attention is a form of generosity, then we can all do a bit more attending closely to find beauty, compassion, and shared experiences in the most unlikely of places. Look closely. Listen deeply.

Composers: David Collins, Devin Drobka, Pat Reinholz, Allen Russell, Andy Miller, and Olivia Valenza
Choreographers: Maria Gillespie Joelle Worm Maggie Seer Alfonso Cervera, Tisiphani Mayfield, Annie Peterson, Katelyn Altmann, Amanda Laabs

Blog Entries from Hyperlocal Performers:

From Alfonso Cervera: To witness is to penetrate the idea of vulnerability and for it to expose the ephemerality of materials, objects, and desires of the internal and external. To witness the agency of the still objects that surround our borders through the practicing of our dancing bodies creates an unconscious conversation between the known and unknown. Becoming aware that the life of the still frame still exists/has existed/or desires to be noticed by you, me, or the other is a practice to witness an unknown dialogue.

An attempt to dismantle the structures of high-art and to deconstruct the goal of the practice already places our responsibility between minority and dancing bodies in a space that acknowledges to create the task of witnessing without being an act of colonization, but rather an acknowledgment knowing that….. “the others matter and (we) are here to support and act of change to grant space and power for those who do not have it”.  -Fonzy

From Annie Peterson:  To witness, one must be selfless. To witness is to listen, and to be okay with only listening. There is no greater agenda other than providing space, and reinforcing the space, that someone exists within. It is the act of recognizing and fortifying another person’s existence. If the witnessed needs you, you will know without being told and you will also know what to do without comprehension. This altruistic state yields personal transformation that then expands outwardly, beginning with recognizing and responding to something bigger than yourself.

Hyperlocal MKE #12 – Ornate/Activate

On Sunday, February 26, 2017 6pm, we will present our 12th installment of our performance series at The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum. This performance holds special significance for us because we are working with and alongside the exhibition at Villa Terrace, Ornate Activate , organized by South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC) and curated by Alexander Campos. Additionally, we have included some new performers, extending our collaborations with guest performers from UW Whitewater (Nick Zoulek), Lawrence University ( Margaret Paek, Loren Dempter), UW Madison (Liz Sexe), and UWM Peck School students (Emily Bartsch, Chanteé Kelly, Kayla Flentje, Olivia Valenza, Talli Moss) and our local dance heroines Joelle Worm (UWM dance and Arts Eco) and Maggie Smith (UWM alumna).  Different performers will work in specific galleries in the museum and engage with the artists’ work; aligning with, conversing with, holding space, and echoing the patterns and practices in embodied, time-based methods of inquiry.   Each collaborative pair or team has created their own score based on the work in the gallery.   Below are the scores (completely in process and guaranteed to change).

Photos by Nicole Langenfeld

maggie  – tally

 – Find the pattern (tonal, spatial, quality, gestural, etc.)
– Add ornamentation/specified gesture (a good place incorporate the idea of the ‘freedom spectrum’)
– Let the ornamentation decay or fade away
– Come back to the original pattern, which is now changed due to the exploration of experimentation that occurred with ornamentation.

joelle – nick – chanteé

CORNERS – start in isolation, Joelle/Chantee in main gallery, Nick in stained glass room.  Move according to sensations of sound (Nick and other musicians) and tactile (body in corner, against walls, etc.)
TRANSITION to seeing the space around you/in front of you in detail, move in reaction to what you see and what continue to hear
MIRROR  Joelle and Chantee use the divider of the center wall to mirror without deciding who is leader
CIRCLING- Nick enters and all three work together circling the wall divider in center
CONTACT – Joelle/Chantee and Nick make contact to imitate the kaleidoscopic aspects of many of the pieces – move as a group before disbanding, returning to corners or exiting

maria – loren

scrolling, biomorphic  – foreground/background   – participate/hidden   –  “stop” – as soon as you arrive, you leave  –  (diaspora paradigm: never fully left, never fully arrive)  – how does the pattern vanish as it develops?

finale – in grand hall

find the pattern, make the pattern, leave the pattern     –       stillness      –  recall a previous voice.

olivia – emily

in-between, juxtapose, entwine.
Paper, dry, close; collect patterns, trace and connect; interrupt with reflection; knots, lattice patterns; out of place; singular, focus, loss

Hyperlocal #6.5 – F O R M [ L E S S ]

For this performance, we are considering form and what’s in between form.
What follows are some thoughts about states and an invitation to think about form differently.

Dan’s question is useful: “Are we leaning toward Form or “[less]”?” I think we all agreed that it may be impossible to be without form. So its good to explore the other side of our instincts and training to create and find states that might be generative, new ways of knowing. So the paradox is that the in-betweeness  (liminality) of form  by nature of being form-adjacent, becomes a part of form. The absence of form is impossible because we organize everything we consume. Such an adherence to normative order begs the experimenter to look between or outside of practiced forms.

Here are some quotes/ideas from choreographer Meg Stuart about states from her book, Are We Here Yet? (Thanks Dan Schuchart for lending this book!)
..you allow a wide range of states, voices, movements and gestures to emerge from your body without censoring them.
…what comes up is fictional or completely foreign to human experience -becoming liquid for example.States may manifest in just one body part or just in your voice – I see them as frequencies and temperatures rather than things that can be easily articulated with words.

– you need to fully commit to whatever state you arrive at, trusting your experience before you can name it.


 – a state emerges when you are no longer thinking in technical terms about what you are doing.


-a state is a window into a different reality


-States have consequences; they have potential narrative.


– A state is activity plus intention, and the gap between what you project and what actually comes through   is revealing.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Summary of Scores


I. Landscapes and solos

  • landscapes –  exist in duration, long enough to maintain a texture
  • landscapes –  create a frame/anchor
  • solo vs landscape  — solo emerges from landscape —
  • when does a solo(ist) rejoin the landscape or be consumed by it?
  • a solo or a solo idea?  One idea experiences/made/contributed to by many – to create a singular idea, from many voices
  • soli –  simultaneous solos

II.  States

  • best to leave this open
  • galaxies, systems collide
  • establish as their own that converge or absorb another
  • individual states -or- meta states  (that we all share)
  • collage of states

III. Beginnings  – “Find the treasure and bring it home”  -did Tim say that?

  • we will make 4 separate, absolute beginnings. These will be marked by an exit/finish/silence after each “beginning” has been established.
  • we will each begin, then discover/make whatever the moment reveals, as soon as we experience it, we finish.
  • after 4 beginnings, the beginnings and ‘resets’ will continue but we probably won’t be “doing” them at the same time.
  • How do you define what you are acknowledging?
  • a beginning is only such with an ending.

El Encuentro

Join us on Sunday September 28th at 4pm for our first performance,

Hyperlocal #1 – El Encuentro


some ideas on “el encuentro”

ir al encuentro de lo desconocidoto go out to face the unknown
a specific moment in time
different than the verb to encounter
a beginning and an end
something that brought change
two people   –  maybe more than two people
if our lives are a series of moments, I encounter this moment
I meet you here
the moment begins and ends and a new one begins
the intention in action to meet and the presence of mind  to do “what happens”
There was a milonga in Los Angeles I attended, called El Encuentro. People showed up, we danced. I like this kind of meeting.

Remedios Varo's "El Encuentro"

Remedios Varo’s “El Encuentro”