Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wrapping it up

Happy Holidays All,

Just a few loose ends to tie with left over wrapping paper...

1. Hopefully, if you requested a DVD and supplied your address, you have received it! If not, please send Lily a message.

2. Did you watch the DVD? No? Well, you've been busy. We understand, but when you do, please drop a little comment about what you thought.

3. If you were able to come to the show, do you remember it? Did you have too much eggnog since then? Well, if you remember, drop us a little comment and let us know what you thought.

Bethany and I are entering our LAST semester of graduate school, and we're writing separate papers about the project. So, in addition to the fact that you are awesome, this is why we would love to hear your feedback.

Thanks again for all your support in 2009. Lets do more in 2010! Happy New Year everybody!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I've got some smart bloggers in the family! Check out my mom's blip on her blog about Complex Environments.

Teeny Video

My brother, Robin, posted about Complex Environments on his blog, including this little video.

Complex Environments CAKE!

Complex Environments, originally uploaded by lssloan.


Complex Environments, originally uploaded by lssloan.

What a good cast!

Complex Environments

Complex Environments, originally uploaded by lssloan.

Fun before out Saturday night performance.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I can't believe it's been a week since we did Complex Environments. Within a few days, Bethany and I were driving down to Austin for a workshop with Nancy Stark Smith, so I don't think I ever did a re-cap of the performance.

In was GREAT! Great crowd, great response, great feelings all around!

Tomorrow, we make the dvds and get them ready to ship off to all the Backers. I can't wait to see the footage. I'll be sure to get a little clip of the performance up on the blog soon.

Till the next time...


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Well....just as our dear mentor who shall remain nameless suggested, some of the best performances happen after chaos.  Well...we had that this morning.

1. It snowed. (in Texas!)
2. The projector did not work because it was so cold.
3. I ran over Bethany's hair while moving a couch.
4. Bethany ran into a chair and bruised the !@#$ out of her knee.
5. José yelled at Melissa (oh wait, that was planned)
6. Did I mention that the projector DID NOT WORK?


But after a strange, but fun and still great rehearsal, everything and everyone is OK. The projector works now. It just needed its fuzzy slippers.

After all that, all I have to say is ......... BRING IT!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bring it!

It is time.

We are ready.

So, bring it!

Come to Banter at 219 W. Oak in Denton, TX THIS Friday and Saturday at 8p.m.

Here's a theoretical question to ponder over ( and comment on)...

What is the aesthetic of "awesome"?



Friday, November 20, 2009

Postcards are on the way!

The final postcard design is done and printed. Look for them around Downtown Denton, or if you're lucky, in your mailbox!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Getting down to crunch time!

Well, as graduate students, we are also involved in the many performances that take place within the Department of Dance. This week kicks off our concert series, and both Bethany and I, along with several of our cast members, are in the theater every night rehearsing for this weekend's show. To say the least, we're pooped! But, that doesn't stop Complex Environments! We all woke up bright and early this past Sunday for a fun 8:30 a.m. rehearsal at Banter with our musician, John. Tomorrow morning, we shall do it again!

The postcards will be sent to print today- with a brand new design. Thanks for all the feedback on the previous design; your comments were noted.

A question for you: What slow song do you most remember from awkward school dances?

Thanks again for all your support!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

We made it!

I came home last night after a late rehearsal, checked my email, and what to my wondering eyes should appear.....A FULLY FUNDED KICKSTARTER PROJECT!

Thanks to pals, Rex and Lucy, who tipped us over the fundraising edge, we have met our goal. Woo hoo!

Things are certainly well underway. The last six rehearsals are marked on the calendar, I'm about to get our postcards proofed, and we have begun arranging the VIP seating chart. (Okay, it's not a chart yet...just a list)

Thanks again to all of the wonderful people who have contributed to our project.  Our gratitude will soon reach your mailbox, and we hope to make your tummies and creative spirits happy come December 4th and 5th.

Until then, my lovelies...until then!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Design Ideas

Do you like these? Which one? Why?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The virtuosity of brushing your hair

I've been thinking about virtuosity and how it relates to this piece. How can semi-pedestrian movement be virtuosic? Is it the transitions? It is the layers? Is it the improvisational nature of it?

There is something about the seamless transitions between casual movement to contact that seems virtuosic. How does one shift from a relaxed state of brushing hair out of one's face to a more frenetic state of jumping on someone's back, and then shift back to the original state?

What do you think about that? What does seamlessness mean to you?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Update by the fire...

Today we posted a new update from our rehearsal this the fire.

We have this great little fake fireplace in our performance space in Banter. Well, it was on when we got there this morning at 8 a.m. and it lured us to sit around, eat cookies, and drink coffee for the first part of rehearsal. We never do this, but regardless, goofing around turned into a really goofy run of the piece. I think Bethany was talking into a coffee cup at some point.

That said, what a fun run! It's amazing what happens when you loosen up, have some fun, and open up the score a bit.

Anyway, check out the update video and keep submitting questions. They are so great!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Backers Submit Questions

Recently, we posted a new update on our Kickstarter page that is exclusively for Backers. But, I guess I can tell you what it is about.

We want QUESTIONS...and lots of them. There is a particular part of the performance where we need a long list of questions, so we asked our Backers to provide them. Here are a few so far:

  •       Has any human being ever actually been raised by wolves?
  •       Will I ever pay off my student loan debt?
  •       Why won't Jim Cantore return my phone calls?
  •       What time do the fish dance?
  •       Why is repetition so comforting?
  •       Should wet birds fly at night?
  •       If you were a spatula, would you be plastic or metal?
  •       Which would win in a battle, electricity or lava?

Aren't they great? I'm looking forward to the rest of the questions. Thanks Backers!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Kickstarter Update!

Howdy Folks!

Check out our most excellent video update on Kickstarter. It includes some rehearsal footage, some looney tunes, and some general dorkiness. What else could you ask for?

Hurrah - 50% funded on the project!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Parallel Universes!

I've been thinking about the project and how we seem to be inserting ourselves in the site. I envision it like there are a bunch of portals to parallel universes in Banter. In these parallel universes, Banter looks basically the same: it has the same furniture, the same large brick's the people that are NOT the same. I mean they're kinda the same; they are young, hip looking, but what they DO is very strange.

In this parallel universe, people:
  • are upside down
  • are hyper
  • have a different idea of linear language
  • make out at inopportune times

What would people do in YOUR parallel universe?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kickstarter Project...3...2...1...LAUNCH!

Just two days ago, we launched Complex Environments on Kickstarter and are already 15% backed.  WOOT! I'm getting really excited about the 'eventfulness' of this project and its got me thinking about the future. How can this be what I do? To make local events that support local art that are also lively, fun, and social? Ideas?

Anyway, I wanted to thank all of our backers and all of our soon-to-be-backers. Check out us on Kickstarter here!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

9/9/09 Banter Rehearsal

9/9/09 Banter Rehearsal, originally uploaded by lssloan.

A short little bit from rehearsal. All the movement and text was taken during SPY TIME and turned into something new.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Banter is officially under Surveillance.

Hi everyone,
I’m Bethany and I’m really excited to be a contributor to MakeDanceHere. I can has blog? Thanks a gazillion, Lily. Wooty woot, ya’ll!

Now down to business.
It’s time to launch…

Operation: Banter Space Data Collection (BSDC).

Banter is officially under Surveillance.

You can HELP US OUT by completing one of the following missions. Or both, if you are super awesome. And we think you’re super awesome!

Mission I: Social Surveillance

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to visit Banter and watch people. If you feel brave, you could even talk to people. But first notice…
Are people alone? In couples? Groups? Young? Old? On computers? Reading? Eating? Talking? What are they talking about? Do they look friendly? What are they wearing? Are they blinking, singing, swaying, sneaking, underwater basket weaving? Do you see someone who moves or speaks in an interesting way?
We want any information you can gather. A-N-Y.
But if you need more structure, try this…
1. Tell us about who you see. Clothes. Age. What they are doing. Who they are with.
2. Tell us about the conversations you hear. Content or just random words.
3. Try to make a friend by telling someone you don’t know what you’re doing for the project and see if they’ll help you. It’s always amazing to see what other people notice that you might not.

Mission II: Sensory Surveillance

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to visit Banter with all senses on high. How does this space look, sound, smell?
What textures do you find? How do they feel?
How can you find new ways to look at and hear and feel the space?
Did you get a sandwich? A beer? Tell us how it tasted.
You can focus on the entire space or perhaps one small section of the café.
You are welcome to give us as much information as possible.
We’re happy to sift through it.

You can do these missions separately or all at once.
We’re doing the missions too, of course, but we’re really interested in what you find.
Like we said in Mission I, it’s always amazing to see what other people notice that you might miss.

Good Luck, Soldier.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Bodies in Urban Spaces

Yet again, I was led to another great resource by my mom, BettyAnn, who I might add,  is a fantastic blogger.
So, check it out:
Vienna/Austria based Cie. Willi Dorne created a work called Bodies in Urban Spaces that "points out the urban functional structure and uncovers the restricted movement possibilities and behaviour as well as rules and limitations."
An article from Weburbanist says how Dorne seeks to create an experience for his audience and wants to inspire viewers to change their perspective and see things in a slightly different way.
I love this kind of public, guerilla performance art. What is most interesting is the insertion of something totally wonderful and quite bizarre into an everyday environment. This is very similar to my desire for Complex Environments. I want to insert an alternate reality in a bar, using material made from real people. I think inserting unusual art in usual space is such a great way to think about changing perspectives and seeing things in s different way. 
Does that make sense?
Side note-  I do have a video coming from the Twitter/Facebook actions. Go Nadia for making an AWESOME little solo sequence with it. 

Wednesday, September 02, 2009's about COMMUNITY

This project is about community. Why didn't I realize that before?

A few turn of events sparked my thoughts on this...

1. Dance Theater Workshop's (DTW) Community Choreography. These are short dance videos made from Tweets! Followers on Twitter send in an action; anything from 'spin!' to ' re-enact a death scene from an old western movie.' Then, the folks at DTW string them together and make wonderful little videos. My action can be seen in Community Chor. #11, however #12 is a MUST SEE.

Why does this all matter? I think the roots of these choreography projects are very similar to my own--sourcing material from other people, stringing it together, seeing what happens.

What's special about these kinds of projects is that ANYONE can be included, and you really do feel like a member of the creative team, even if you just Tweeted "point your finger in the air and spin counterclockwise."

2. KICKSTARTER! My brother just launched a new book project on Kickstarter which got me thinking about launching this project onto Kickstarter. It isn't official yet, but I think this could be another really great way to explore and expand on the idea of community.

**Background: Kickstarter is basically a way of funding creative projects through a community. 'Backers' donate various amounts, which are often based on a tier of intensives ( a free tee shirt, a book, an autograph, VIP seats, etc)

My idea: VIP Backers could submit some sort of ACTION which would be turned into an interesting sequence of movement. During the performance, this specific sequence could be "inserted," with some sort of bold announcement that clearly states where the movement came from....PEOPLE!

3. Lastly, just in thinking about this blog and how much I enjoy sharing my ideas, as well as how much people have responded to them, I feel like this idea of community is more central to the work than I might have first imagined.

What do you think?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Twitter/Facebook Action!

So the other day I asked some folks via Twitter and Facebook to describe their last action. I received several different responses:

I just put down my cell phone after a long conversation with my mom.

I just ate five pickles. Computer on my lap, small bowl of deliciousness to my right. Delicately grab pickle with two fingers, type with ten...small bites between grab and type.

hung up wet clothes to dry. 4 dresses, 3 bras, 1 shirt, 6 hangers, on the bathroom shower curtain rod.

I rolled over, picked my wedgie, and covered up with a blanket. Now I am texting with my right hand only.

I put a dvd into my imac to burn, imed someone on yahoo, and just took a quiz on here.

sat down on couch. picked up laptop off floor and sat on lap. left elbow on arm of couch. ran fingers through hair and looked depressed cause now i have to go out in the rain to get my dry laundry.

Turned the page in a manga while leaning back on my couch.

Next, I took some key words and strung them together for a mini action score. It's pretty open, try it out!

1. put down
2. grab
3. hang over
4. pick
5. cover with right hand only
6. burn
7. sit down
7. puck up and put on lap
8. run fingers through hair
9. look depressed

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Giants and Imagination

Ok- I haven't even finished this article, but I wanted to make sure I didn't forget to post it.

If you're interested in public art, giants, imagination, story, and wonder, you should read it. I'm going to go do that now too.

Thanks, BettyAnn for the link.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Deadlines coming....must THINK!

Well I was going to post a new action score video....but it disappeared. Silly computer.

Instead...some thoughts on Richard Foreman and The Second City.

In Foreman's book, Unbalancing Acts, he says:
To make theater, all you need is a defined space and things that enter and leave that space...Theater is presence and absence.
Just the words presence and absence really stuck with me. I've been thinking about this process and how I keep taking things out of the environment and putting them back in. For instance, I sneakily acquired all this material based on what people do in Banter (the cafe). Then, I took it away. I played with it with the performers, José and Juan Pablo. Then, I will take it back to the environment in which it originated, but in a much different form.

I'm not saying this is what Foreman was saying. But just thinking about the space, and things entering and exiting seems so simple...but it can be so complex.

I was also thinking about how other artists/entertainers generate material from everyday experiences and thought of The Second City. I took some classes in their training school in Detroit, so I have a wee bit of personal experience. The kinds of scenes that were real gems were the ones that were identifiable, but so absurd or strange that you had to laugh at them. I think this juxtaposition of really normal, identifiable scenarios and bizarro-land weirdness is really interesting...

What do you think?

BONUS: We have a title!

Our performance will be called Complex Environments: This is not a bar.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Apparently, I am not the only one spying to make art. At the Heathrow airport author, Alain de Botton, can be seen at a desk with his laptop...SPYING.

- the word spy is not really ever used, but he's just sitting there, getting material from whatever happens. Like- WHATEVER. If he sees a roach family twinkle-toe out of a restaurant, that is fair game. After a week of documenting what he sees he will be writing a book to be distributed on Sept. 21st. Check out more in the NYT article by Andrew Adam Newman.

Another example of why public spying= awesome.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Action Scores take ACTION!

The movement in this video was developed straight from notes taken while spying on people's actions in Banter (a cafe/bar in Denton, TX)

Specifically, you can trace the movement back to posts on 8/7 and 8/15. These are not the final versions of anything. They are the first attempts at playing with "found movement."

spy+random movement sequencing+layering= wacky wacky dance.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Autonomous Agents

A quote from Media in Performance: Interactive Spaces for Dance, Theater, Circus, and Museum Exhibits. by F. Sparacino, G. Davenport, and A. Penland.
Autonomous Agents are software agents with a set of time-dependent goals or motivations that the agents try to satisfy in a complex dynamic environment (such as the real world).

Now watch when I replace "software" with "HUMANS!"
Autonomous Agents are HUMAN agents with a set of time-dependent goals or motivations that the agents try to satisfy in a complex dynamic environment(such as the real world).
This sounds like a great performance!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

action score #2

  1. say: Well, about ready for the kids to come back?
  2. say: Hahahahahaha
  3. make circular motions with left hand inward towards chest
  4. Softly hold right hand to mouth, like it’s making what you say louder
  5. Look sideways and rapidly nod you head
  6. Walk slightly hunched forward with right arm loosely bent
  7. Tap your right thigh with the side of your right hand
  8. say: Hee hee hee
  9. Look up slowly, then sharply and quickly look forward
  10. Right hand brushes hair out of face.

action score

New action score from SPY TIME!
  1. arms loose and flimsy
  2. say: “awesome”
  3. Scratch face with left hand with loosely holding something with right hand.
  4. slow soft wiggle
  5. lean on the ____ with right hand on hip
  6. Put right hand in back pocket and fish around for something.
  7. say: “is that your spot?”
  8. look down, scratch something on chest.
  9. Look at chest
  10. Swagger. Belly protrudes.

the step-by-step of it all

Yesterday I was thinking about this process. What comes first? How does one thing build upon each other? Here's some thoughts:
  1. The process begins with SPY TIME. Spy on people at Banter, write down their actions/text, then make movement scores from that material.
  2. Use those scores to develop a duet for Jose and JP, two men I go to school with. Play with the actions. Insert bold movement within the subtle scores.
  3. Use the material from Jose and JP’s duet as the starting point for the film process for my solo. Film myself doing the scores in front of the brick wall at Banter.
  4. Construct the solo film.
  5. Play off the material from the solo film as the starting point for constructing the solo.
So, each step depends on the one before it, which is neat, because my collaborator, Bethany Nelson, is focusing on interdependency.

awesome. back to spying...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Weekly Research

This week I'm focusing on a couple books that sounds interesting regarding multimedia installation, site-specific art, and realist comics.

The first is a book by Nick Kaye, called Multimedia: Video Installation Performance. Haven't gotten through all of it yet, but it looks very promising.

I like this (taken from the back cover):
The book sets out key themes and concerns in multi-media practice, addressing Time, Space, the resurgence of ephemerality, liveness, and 'aura.'


The second is by Miwon Kwon, titled One Place After Another: Site Specific Art and Locational Identity.

This one just came in the mail TODAY, so more on that soon...

Lastly, referred to from by bro, Robin, were some realist comics by Adrian Tomine. I bought the whole series called 32 Stories.

I've read four of the comics today. They are VERY short and VERY smart. I was interested in how other artists draw from the everyday and what they make from it. I'm also interested in the comic book/graphic novel aesthetic-- kinda gritty, hand-made, raw, real, black and white, sketchy, etc.

SO- that's it for today. Love to hear comments/questions/ideas!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Post- Banter Spy Time

Went to Banter yesterday to do a little spying and note-taking. Here's a little action score derived from stuff people did or said. mwa ha ha ha...

1. say "so..."
2. shake both hands outward
3. walk sideways and move something out of your way
4. come in- go out
5. lean back and let right arm swing
6. gently pat the air down with right hand
7. say "fancy meeting you here"
8. bend very slightly forward from your waist while keeping your gaze forward
9. nod your head and lick your lips simultaneously
10. point you index finger in the air softly and indirectly


So, even with all these directions, this is just a tiny tiny chunk of movement.

I was also thinking about lights:
  • red up lamps
  • red work lights
Also- I'm thinking of what kind of stand the projector could go on that would be reachable by the person that is teching it. A deer stand?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Back from the library

I went to the library today to get a few books for my culminating project research, but also stumbled upon a dance film series called: 5 Dance Films About Place, directed by Douglas Rosenburg and Allen Kaeja. Most of them take place in rural Wisconsin, "created in in and of the landscape and local architecture and speaks to metaphors of relationship, the senses, and the changing seasons" ( Rosenburg).

The series can also he found online, here.

So- in my endeavors to explore what is already in the landscape of Banter, the cafe I am using as the site for my culminating project, I'm curious if I can see how the Wisconsin landscape affects the movement in these pieces.

What do you think?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Saw some dance films!

I was at the Museum of Modern Art for a series of short dance films from Sweden. Very cool, minus the technical glitches with the dvd player. Anyway, it was neat to see some films in familiar HOUSES! Check some out...

Director: Marten Nilsson
Choreographer: Gunilla Heilborn

The next clip discusses the process of one of the films, Insight.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Project Banter Dance Film Spectacular

This post begins a series of many that will document the process of my M.F.A culminating project. My colleague, Bethany, and I are creating a site-specific/dance film/video installation performance THING at a really great, local bar/cafe/coffee shop called Banter, in Denton, TX.

Anyway, right now I have been acting as a research spy-- watching people in Banter, jotting down their actions, things they say, etc.

  • "you wouldn't understand"
  • "put your ass in jail"
  • bobs head back and forth slowly

SO- with this info generated from the space and the people, I am going to make a movement score for one duet and one solo.

More to come!

If you're in Banter, watch out, something you do might be in my piece!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Secrets...Not For Sale

An awesome little film by Nicole Touzien. I did the camera work in Mexico!


A great little film made by friend, Bethany Nelson.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

K-Swiss Ad

Interesting, lively dancing and editing. Post-modern/Hip-hop can make cool commercials? What do you think?

Gallim Dance Company Final w Interview from Andreas von Scheele on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Movement Sketch 4

Movement Sketch 4 from lily sloan on Vimeo.

Music: Robin Sloan

Dancers/Camera Crew: Crysta Caulkins, Meredith Cook, Anna Dixon, Jordan Fuchs, Amanda Jackson, Bethany Nelson, Lily Sloan,Nicole Touzien,Julie Muvahill, Nadia Losonsky, Jasmine Sargent

Video Editing: Lily Sloan

Friday, February 27, 2009

Movement Sketch 3

This short was an experiment in detail and repetition.

Thanks Minus Kelvin for the music.

Thanks to all the dancers and camera crew (which were the dancers)

Movement Sketch 3 from lily sloan on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

CI Movment Sketch 2

Music: "Who's There?" by John Osburn
Dancers: Crysta Caulkins, Anna Dixon, Jordan Fuchs, Lily Sloan, Nicole Touzien
Camera: Bethany Nelson
Editing: Lily Sloan

Movement Sketch 2: Who's There? from lily sloan on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

New Project

I am collecting footage from our contact improvisation dance jams that take place every Thursday night. Here is the first one. I don't think I will always have this line-drawn effect. What do you think?

Dance Jams- A Collection of Movement Sketches from lily sloan on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Top Secret Dance Off

So, I have been thinking a lot about this massively multiplayer game called, Top Secret Dance Off. In short, you make a disguise, complete dance quests and dance offs in your REAL life, post videos, and give other players' videos points. Totally positive. Totally fun. My question is, does this dance matter? What does this kind of social interactivity using dance and the internet mean to the professional dance world? I personally love it and find something very valuable in the sharing of movement with others. What do you think?

Here's a trailer

Find more videos like this on Top Secret Dance Off

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I've been thinking about the concept of found dance. Where do we see dance sneaking in our everyday lives? How can I document it and display it? Does is matter? I think so...

Dancing with Self

So...this is from one of the great citizens of dance at Top Secret Dance Off. I love the simplicity. the mirror. the bowtie. the honest, fun, dancing. Way to be Chris!

Find more videos like this on Top Secret Dance Off