Described as "Geo-psychic" by the Boston Herald's critic Ted Bale, Denizen is an expanded cinema performance inspired by the masterworks of the great Armenian filmmakers Sergey Parajanov and Artavazd Peleshian. Denizen is our artistic response to their films, our way to engage in an imaginary conversation with these filmmakers about the stories they tell, the places they portray, the rituals their characters embody as well as the creative principles they used to make their films.
The performance is structured as a cycle of poetic haikus with each scene evoking familiar life experiences such as celebration, marriage, traveling, war, birth & death. The performers embody both terrestrial and ethereal beings - transmitting the mundane, the mythical and the ritual aspects of a land and its people.
In Denizen, the myth of Anahit (one of the most favorite goddesses of Armenia, the Mother of Wisdom, the Goddess of Fertility and the Warrior Goddess) is conjured to symbolize the ancient concept of the trinity and the possibility to conceive of all beings as fundamentally linked, distinct yet equal. Anahit is performed by soprano vocalist Noune Karapetian, whose songs about women, work, shepherds, sorrow and celebration are woven into a lush fabric of dance, image, light, sound and environment.
About the Process
In October 2006, we went to Armenia to collect sounds and film footage for Denizen in the Northern Lori region in some of the exact locations where Parajanov's and Peleshian's films were shot. Our experiences included spending a day with a shepherd and his flock, roaming hay fields and ancient forests, capturing the light in abandoned churches, pondering a pagan temple, watching the process of baking fresh lavash bread in an underground oven, among others. Through the process of choreographing dances, light, and landscapes and interacting with local people, we felt closer to understanding the mythical and the mysterious in the films by Parajanov and Peleshian that had drawn us to this far away land. Many philosophical and spiritual questions came up for us. What is our connection to the land we live on? Who are we as humans and where do we come from? How does the lifespan of the Earth relate to the lifespan of a human being?
DENIZEN is an offering, a vision of the experience of our journey.
“The layering of emotionally potent choreography, exotic imagery, sounds, and staging add up to a daring and dramatically theatrical experience.” – Boston Globe
“…stunning… "Denizen" integrates film, a scenic design, and especially lighting into the dance to create a theatrical experience with enormous dramatic impact… A breathtaking synthesis of live and filmed dance.”
– Boston Globe
“Denizen is lush and sensual, mysterious and vivid, formally sophisticated and painterly…”- Ted Bale of the Boston Herald
“…Idiosyncratic half-folk, half-alien…transforming the potentially alienating language of postmodern dance into a hauntingly familiar experience…” – The Weekly Dig
directed by Kinodance Company (Alissa Cardone, Alla Kovgan, Ingrid Schatz and Dedalus Wainwright)
choreography: Alissa Cardone and Ingrid Schatz
film/projections: Alla Kovgan
set design: Dedalus Wainwright dancers: Halee Beucler, Alissa Cardone, Alison Manning, Kaitlin Morse, DeAnna Pellecchia, Christina Robson, Ingrid Schatz
soprano vocals: Noune Karapetian
lighting design: Kathy Couch
costumes: Laura Coulter
sound design: Andy Bergman
music: Avet Terteryan, Anton Batagov, Komitas Vardaped and others
zurna player: Arsen Apitsaryan
male vocals, kiamancha, and shve player: Vahe Ghahraman
duduk: Zori Babroudi
dhol: Ed Babroudi
music recording studio: Notable Productions (Watertown, MA)
production crew in Armenia:
cinematograper: Mkrtich Malkhasyan
producer: Melik Karapetyan
line-producer: Harut Kbeyan
driver: Ashot Sarkissyan
With the support from LEF Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Bank of America Celebrity Series, Concord Academy Summer Stages, New England Foundation for the Arts, and numerous donnors.