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Untitled Scores: Experiments in Improvisation

Shura Baryshnikov, Co-Producing Artistic Director

In the anchor performance of their third season, Doppelgänger Dance Collective (DDC) premiered an evening length program, March 1-3, 2018 at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University.  With dance collaborators from Rhode Island, Boston, Portland, New York and beyond, audiences were given the opportunity to see multiple approaches to performing improvised dance, featuring progressive, sometimes cross-disciplinary, scores and highlighting the diversity and innovation discoverable only in improvised performance.  This program was funded in part by New England Foundation on the Arts - New England Dance Fund grant.  The New England Dance Fund is generously supported by the Aliad Fund at the Boston Foundation.  Funding was also provided in part by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and private funders.

The program featured a new work by dancer/choreographer Riley Watts in collaboration with Danielle Davidson titled Veil i.  Music by Henry Wolff and Vangelis.  Music arranged and edited by Riley Watts and Benjamin Spalding.  Choreographer's note: It’s in the doing that the idea comes - Edmund Bacon.

The second piece, the shuttle is what moves, a new work built in collaboration with installation artists Nora Rabins featured six dancers and a musical loom built by Rabins, who holds an MFA in Furniture Design from the Rhode Island School of Design.  The score for this improvised work explores manual creation of both spacial/temporal reality and material object and was created and performed by Shura Baryshnikov, Heidi Henderson, Sarah Konner, Cathy Nicoli, and Lila Hurwitz in collaboration with Rabins.  Costumes by Heidi Henderson.

The third work in this program, Study of Three, featured a different combination of setGO Ensemble dancers on each evening: Shura Baryshnikov, Aaron, Brando, Sarah Konner, and Bradley Teal Ellis.  This Contact Improvisation trio capped the evening's program, a rich exchange of spontaneous choreographies and virtuosic, improvised physicality.  

Picture gallery for Untitled Scores coming soon.


Myths, Legends & Questions: New Works for Stage and Screen

Shura Baryshnikov, Co-Producing Artistic Director

As the anchor performance of their second season, Doppelgänger Dance Collective (DDC) premiered an evening length interdisciplinary program April 12 - 23, 2017 at AS220's Black Box Theater in Providence, RI. 


The concert is in three parts. 


First, Heidi Henderson's The Queen's Dream danced by Baryshnikov, Davidson and Henderson.  This queen dreams in white: feathers, ping pong balls, marshmallows.  Elizabethan collars frame regal gestures with tiny hips; huge skirts fly with floppy dancing.  String Quartet no. 4 by Mozart with a twist: the Andante is repeated four times adding an instrument each time, beginning with the spare and spacious cello part. 


Next, Echo + Narcissus a dance film, directed by Andy Russ. Drawing inspiration from the ancient Roman myth, the film is a surrealist reflection on contemporary issues of self image, social media, and the lure of beauty.


Third, Alissa Cardone's work for Doppelgänger Dance Collective is inspired by the collages of Dadaist photomontage artist Hannah Höch.  Exploring this source material, Cardone uses image-based movement as a jumping off point to explore vocabularies and approaches found in butoh, release technique and physical theatre.  With the physicality and theatricality of the dancers uncovered, two distinct characters emerge and move in relationship to self, other, present and past. Composer Nate Tucker performs live with Baryshnikov and Davidson.

DDC received a New England States Touring (NEST) grant to perform Henderson's and Cardone's work at Keene State College. The creation of these works was supported by AS220's Community Live Arts Residency program in Providence, RI, as well as an Independent Project Grant from The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.



THE FIRST FOUR Concert and Symposium

Shura Baryshnikov, Co-Producing Artistic Director

Founded by dancers Shura Baryshnikov and Danielle Davidson, Doppelgänger Dance Collective (DDC) fosters the creation and performance of original, contemporary choreographic work, providing the opportunity for technical and expressive challenges for both dancer and dance maker.  DDC is committed to supporting the performance of live music with these new works, engaging musicians whenever possible in order to enrich the performance experience and to provide musicians the opportunity to accompany dance in concert.


Furthermore, DDC is committed to public accessibility and service to the community, and is dedicated to sharing a deep love of contemporary movement, dance creation and improvisation through mentoring and teaching opportunities as well as informal showings and presentations.


With similarly powerful, fierce physicality, versatile technique, and, most importantly, reckless eagerness and a willingness to work hard, the pair felt the pair could offer compelling and dynamic evening length performances as a duets collective. They devised a plan to commission four choreographers to create original duets with the goal of performing their first program together in the winter/spring of 2016.  


DDC produced a full-length program for a weekend of shows and sold-out houses at Brown's Granoff Center for the Arts through the support of the local business community, individual donors, as well as invaluable support gained through an Independent Project Grant from The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, a Creative Arts Council Grant from Brown University, and funding from Michael Steinberg for the inclusion of live music.  THE FIRST FOUR Concert and Symposium, accompanied by Musical Director Adrienne Taylor and a live string ensemble, featured four new duet works by Heidi Henderson, Paul Singh, Sydney Skybetter and B.J. Sullivan. 

Praise for Doppelgänger Dance Collective:


"The performance was mesmerizingly beautiful. You could hear a pin drop. Danielle and Shura are physically matched, strong technical performers with the subtlety of history and artistry running under current to the work."  -Diane Arvanites, Co-Artistic Director of Prometheus Dance 

"Doppelgänger’s approach to performance is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. They are persuasively arguing- on stage as in their company administration- that contemporary dance in this country is vital, sustainable, and capable of deploying a powerful feminist perspective.  The work is necessary and vital, and may just be the future of the art form."  -Sydney Skybetter, Choreographer

"This sense of oneness with the musicians is also apparent in the interactions between the two women. Whether they are dancing side by side or weaving in and around one another, their movement seems to initiate from the same breath, as if they had been working together for years." - Lawrence Elizabeth Knox, WBUR

"This duo’s performance was concentrated, somatic driven, and rich with succulent quality."  - Juan Michael Porter II, HuffPost


Aftershock: A Project of Thinking the Earth

Shura Baryshnikov, Producing Director


This dance performance was commissioned as part of the Thinking the Earth symposium which took place on April 23rd and 24th, 2015.  Programming also included an artist talkback with Aftershock dramaturg Katie Pearl and a Contact Improvisation workshop open to the broader Providence community. 


Thinking the Earth was the first signature event for Earth, Itself, an activity of The Institute at Brown for Environment and Society (IBES), an interfaculty initiative at Brown University.  The Institute is concerned centrally with the challenges facing us in ensuring sustainable life, and so aims to stimulate conversations across the natural and social sciences, humanities and the arts.


Aftershock was developed in collaboration with ceramic artist Kelli Rae AdamsAftershock examines how human beings impact the Earth, and, with a movement ensemble of 13, an improvised performance score incorporated Kelli’s expressive clay slabs -- a tactile exploration of Contact Improvisation in performance.


Aftershock was performed by: Shura Baryshnikov, Rebecca Lin Bone, Aaron Brandes, Neige Christenson, Olase Freeman, Sarah Konner, Tim Kopacz, Blake Nellis, Tim O’Donnell, Terhi Rasilo, Stephanie Turner and Taja Will


Praise for Aftershock:


"The dancing part was definitely a highlight... [The performance] was self-explanatory - no lengthy introductions needed; the moving bodies themselves undulating in the most earthly fashion over the wooden floor and clay grounds wrote their story(ies) into the space we all shared at this moment making them 'readable'  and 'transcendent' to us by interconnecting our senses within and among us."  


"I am deeply convinced now that yes scientific thinking can be communicated through art - by watching it, thinking and dancing in it in my mind and finally by doing it, through incipiently yet highly enjoyable attempts myself."





She Moves: a dance concert to benefit the Women's Center of Rhode Island

Shura Baryshnikov, Executive Producer


She Moves was a collaborative initiative which brought together eleven of the strongest female voices in the Rhode Island contemporary dance community. The evening was a celebration of the immense and wide-ranging talents of these bold women, all of whom are fearless trailblazers in the Rhode Island dance scene and teachers in the most exceptional institutions in the region.


The concert featured works by a number of RISCA choreography fellowship recipients, as well as six new works: four of which were world premiers and two were Rhode Island premiers.  Closing the show, all 11 choreographers danced in an ensemble work by four-time RISCA choreography fellowship recipient, Heidi Henderson.


She Moves was organized as a benefit for the Women's Center of Rhode Island and all net proceeds were contributed to the organization.  


Established in 1974, the Women's Center of Rhode Island has continued to provide comprehensive services and hope for a better tomorrow for victims of domestic violence for nearly forty years.


"Our comprehensive programs and services include shelter, case management, life skills coaching, parenting, counseling, advocacy, referrals and support to help clients access education, employment, health and legal services, protective orders and safe housing. In addition, our hotline services are available 24 hours per day/seven days per week, and we provide educational and community outreach programs."


With two sold-out performances, She Moves succeeded in raising over $5,300. 


Contributing choreographers:  Shura Baryshnikov, Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp, Ali Kenner Brodsky, Megan Carmichael, Heidi Henderson, Jessica Howard, Katie McNamara, Betsy Miller, Cathy Nicoli, Andrea Dawn Shelley, Stephanie Turner






IMPROV/IN/SIGHT: Open Rehearsals RISD Museum

Shura Baryshnikov, Producing Director


Open Rehearsals is a series that brings dance and movement beyond the proscenium stage and into other cultural and architectural contexts. This event was organized in collaboration with the Rhode Island School of Design Museum.

The theater is a physical and conceptual space which conventionally specifies where performers perform, where the audience sits, and a set of learned behaviors about how to spectate. Similarly, the art museum is a place that collects, preserves and displays artworks, and we enter with all kinds of expectations about how to act, how to move, and how to look. Where do we direct our attention? How do we decide what to look at and for how long? Where and how do we position and move our bodies in space in relation to the performance, to artworks? How do the performers relate to each other and to the audience as a whole and as individuals? How do we experience and express agency as viewers?


For this event, a space was defined in the Grand Gallery for an intimate view of the performance, titled improv/in/sight.  Five improvisors employed the practice of Contact Improvisation to perform improvisational scores which were composed collectively.  Specific compositional rules, introduction of sound/music, as well as the particularities of the space and each dancer's movement history and training determined the composition. 


With backgrounds in contemporary dance -- as well as other methods of dance and improvisation -- the enselble brought diverse movement and performance quality to play within the framework of Contact Improvisation, collaborating on this dynamic Providence "stage" 


Dancers: Shura Baryshnikov, Sarah Young, Rebecca Lin Bone, Stephanie Turner, Sarah Konner


Musical collaborators: Norah Rabins and James Falzone

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