One of the rare ASBX episodes that features two artists at once! In this episode, I had the pleasure of talking with the artistic directors of the Bipeds, a dance-theater company. Choreographer and dancer Stacy Wolfson and banjo-player and songwriter Curtis Eller have devised a unique compositional approach combining movement, music and lyrics to create a compelling hybrid of dance and song.
We discuss why the Bipeds collaboration makes such good sense and how it inspires participants to blur the lines, break out of ruts and have deeper conversations. We also dive into the Bipeds upcoming performance of 54 STRANGE WORDS playing June 21-24 at The Fruit in Durham. 54 STRANGE WORDS closes out Season 4 for the amazing Durham Independent Dance Artists (DIDA). Get your tickets!
Curtis Eller is a banjo player, songwriter and rock & roll singer. A twenty-year show business veteran, Eller and his band The American Circus have developed a devoted international following based on dynamic live performances and an extensive catalog of idiosyncratic recordings. The iconoclastic musician has spent a decade relentlessly touring the club, theatre and festival stages of a dozen countries in North America and Europe. Eller’s collaboration with The Bipeds marks an exciting new direction for a performer has long embraced movement as a vital expressive tool.
Stacy Wolfson is a dancer, choreographer, singer, Pilates teacher, and mother of two little girls. Originally from Virginia, she spent a decade in Chicago creating and dancing with The Space Movement Project, a company she co-founded in 2005. Wolfson and her family relocated to Durham, NC in 2013, where she began working as an independent choreographer.
Wolfson began working closely with banjo-player Curtis Eller in 2015 and subsequently formed The Bipeds. As a duo, Wolfson and Eller have performed in Charlotte, Tobacco Road Dance Productions, the Greensboro Fringe Festival, Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn, NY, and just returned from their first mini tour across VA that included The Shenandoah Fringe Festival. Wolfson occasionally sings harmony with Eller’s rock n roll band, The American Circus. Aside from creating and performing, you can find her at Bull City Pilates and Massage, a studio she co-owns with her husband.
This episode is brought to you by the Soapboxers, the official patrons of the Artist Soapbox. If you like these episodes and want more, get on the Soapbox! Podcast recorded at Shadowbox Studio in Durham, NC.
[0:00] Episode intro and info about the Bipeds, Curtis Eller, and Stacy Wolfson
[3:00] What is the origin story of the Bipeds? How did Curtis and Stacy meet?
[5:53] How did those first rehearsals go? How did they start the creation process?
[10:31] Why does this pairing of music and dance work? How does it make sense?
[17:57] Curtis and Stacy give us examples of the flashes of inspiration that occur from the intersection of techniques
[21:41] What are the Bipeds “going after”?
[23:00] Collaboration: The collaborative process in making the companion videos and working with others within the group
[28:15] 54 STRANGE WORDS: What will audiences be experiencing when they attend?
[32:45] Who will be performing in 54 STRANGE WORDS? Everyone dances and everyone sings? What is the basic construct of the piece?
[35:55] Sepiadelic and the story of the mouse
[37:57] What are Stacy and Curtis most looking forward to with 54 STRANGE WORDS?
[43:14] What’s happening after 54 STRANGE WORDS?
[46:24] Why do we make art anyway? 🙂
[48:00] Thank you and sign-off
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