John’s Query, set in Limerick’s St. John’s Square, is a dance piece for three dancers exploring our changing notion of the public square as both a location and a network, mistranslations, and the pursuit of shared perspective.
Angie Smalis, Mark Carberry and Colin Gee, perform personae based on historical figures, all of whom inhabited St. John’s Square between 1700 and 1950. This anachronistic framing of communal life seeks a new understanding of what public life means in the context of twenty-first century connectivity and interdependence. As the lives of the characters intertwine in a farcical narrative, the question is posed: Will people always betray others for the sake of their own interests? Angie Smalis’ and Colin Gee’s recent research into “performed persona” has explored public and private morality and beauty as an expression of the sublime, through works rooted in historical time periods and locations. Research into character and community is also at the centre of this project.
Ultimately, ‘’John’s Query’’ is about the pursuit of (and sympathy for) the perspective from which the other can be understood, through humour, grace, longing, and melancholy. It also proposes a path for a return to narrative in dance and addresses an opportunity to engage with a new kind of storytelling within dance.
Trained and worked professionally as a dance artist in Athens, Greece before moving to Vienna, Austria (2001) to join the Viennese Opera (Volks Oper Wien). Angie relocated to Limerick, Ireland in 2003 to join Daghdha Dance Company. Angie is an independent contemporary dance artist, Artistic Director of Limerick Youth Theatre (www.lyt.ie) and Founder and Director of Patterns Dance Collective, a group of dance artists with intellectual disabilities. Her collaborative video installation Chaplet of Roses (2015) won Outstanding Irish Work at Light Moves Festival of screen dance (Limerick). Recent works include The Melody of Thinking (2016), a collaboration with musician Peter Hanagan presented at the World Academy of Music and Dance, Specifically. Being. Human. (2016), a collaboration with actor/director Kevin Kiely Jnr. and composer Paddy Mulcahy, a dance response to E.gress (2016) a film about dementia that launched at IMMA in November, as part of a National tour by visual artist Marie Brett and Unplugged, Intimate or Plain Crazy (2017), in collaboration with dance artist Mark Carberry and composer John Greenwood, as part of Limerick fringe. Angie would like to acknowledge the continuous support of the Arts Council under the Dance Bursary, Dance Project and Travel and Training Awards, Culture Ireland, Limerick City and Co. Arts Office, Dance Limerick, Manuel Smalis and her 5 children. angiesmalis.com.
About the artists
Trained as an actor at the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris and the Dell’ Arte School of Physical Theater, Colin Gee was a clown for Cirque du Soleil and the founding Whitney Live artist-in-residence at the Whitney Museum. Recipient of a 2012 Rome Prize in Design, and a 2011 EMPAC Dance Movies Commission, other commissions have included works for SFMOMA and the Whitney Museum. He has frequently collaborated with composer Erin Gee (his sister), providing the libretto for her opera, SLEEP (2009, Zürich Opera House), Mouthpiece XIII, Mathilde of Loci, Part I (2009, American Composer's Orchestra, Carnegie Hall), Mouthpiece XX (2014, Vienna Konzerthaus) with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Mouthpiece VI+I (2014, Chicago) with Fonema Consort. In the last three of those works he also performed, and contributed video and direction. Works in New York have been premiered at PS122, The Chocolate Factory, Joyce Theater, Whitney Museum, and many others. He has worked with Angie Smalis since 2007, recently on dance works “Chaplet of Roses,” “They Go Out in Joy,” and “Lenore”.
“The most original compositional voice to emerge from Ireland in the past 20 years” (The Irish Times) and “Wild girl of Darmstadt” (Frankfurter Rundschau), composer and performer Jennifer Walshe was born in Dublin, Ireland. Her music has been commissioned, broadcast and performed all over the world. She has been the recipient of fellowships and prizes from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York; the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm, the Internationales Musikinstitut, Darmstadt and Akademie Schloss Solitude among others. Walshe has written a large number of operas and theatrical works, including XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!! an opera for Barbie dolls, available on DVD from Mere Records and most recently Die Taktik, a commission for the Junge Oper Stuttgart, which completed a month-long run in Stuttgart in 2012. Her visual work has been exhibited most recently in the Chelsea Art Museum, New York; Project Arts Centre, Dublin and the ICA, London. www.milker.org www.aisteach.org
Mark Carberry is a Community Dance Artist with a background in Dance Theatre and Dance Improvisation. He has many years of experience teaching and facilitating workshops in the UK and in Ireland. Mark also works as a solo performer and in collaboration with artists whose work questions, challenges and extends the peripheries of dance, choreography and performance. His performance work is informed by his daily movement practice in somatic training and improvisation techniques, taking shape in the form of performances, interactions, installations and happenings.