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Commissioned Works

last days/first field

Jill Sigman


A multi-phase movement/planting/conversational experience by Jill Sigman 

May 7, 8, and 9, 2013 at 7:30pm at the Invisible Dog

Choreography by Jill Sigman (with the performers)
Design by Jill Sigman
Performed by Hadar Ahuvia, Corinne Cappelletti, Donna Costello, Sally Hess, Irene Hsi, Paloma McGregor, Jill Sigman, Devika Wickremesinghe
Original score created and performed by Kristin Norderval
Costumes (from reclaimed materials) by kymkym
Plants by Camilla Hammer & Henry Sweets

In the fall semester of 2012, Jill Sigman conducted research for her new work last days/first field with Wesleyan faculty, students, and staff. A goal of the performance is to incorporate the work and ideas of people who work on urban farms or in composting, food justice, permaculture, or environmental education. A movement ritual for our time, last days/first field kinesthetically distills the feeling of now-- what it is to live in the face of climate change, extreme weather, economic instability, and political polarization. Eight dancers channel natural geological processes, ancient practices, Williamsburg hipsters, and pupating insects to create a non-linear landscape that just might be the future. The piece culminates in a durational planting, in which the performers plant a micro-field of seedlings in the performance space.


Photos of THE FIELD by Shannon Welch


On November 17, 2012, Sigman and students from a wide range of curricular and co-curricular backgrounds explored these issues in an intensive workshop called THE FIELD: durational practice, contemplation, and social change. The all-day experience centered around the exercise/ritual of planting a field of seedlings indoors. Sigman and the students discussed their experiences trying to create change in the world and looked at the significance of a field--politically and ritually and also engaged in a number of physical explorations around the ideas of duration and contemplation.

last days/first field is influenced by Sigman's previous work The Hut Project. The Hut Project is an ongoing series of site-based activities that weaves together themes of sustainability, shelter, real estate, nature, and home. Sigman began by building a series of simple structures from found and re-purposed materials. Each hut acts as a catalyst for local activities such as performance, video, collaboration, and community dialogue. The huts are containers--places where the concepts of dwelling, structure, and art object meet. The most recent Hut #7 was installed at Arts@Renaissance, part of St. Nick's Alliance in Brooklyn, New York. Sigman and the students in her co-taught class Ritual, Health, and Healing met with community members at St. Nick's Alliance throughout the spring 2011 semester in order to learn about issues related to waste management, health, education, and women's activism in the neighborhood.

hut #7
Hut #7 by Rafael Gamo


Jill Sigman is a choreographer, performer, improviser, and teacher. Trained in classical ballet, modern dance, analytic philosophy, and the visual arts, Sigman has been making dances and performance installations since the early 1990s. In 1998 she founded her company

jill sigman/thinkdance as a vehicle for these artistic experiments. In the same year she received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University.

Sigman juxtaposes physical movement with elements such as video, text, and light to create layered landscapes of meaning that explore pressing questions of our time. To engage audiences as intellectual partners, she has gravitated to alternative spaces, socially conscious topics, adnd work that plays with the boundaries of dance.

Born in Brooklyn, Sigman was trained extensively in classical ballet at the Joffrey Ballet and Ballet Center of Brooklyn. She discovered modern dance at Princeton University where she received a Certificate in Theater and Dance and studied with Ze’eva Cohen, Jim May, Mark Taylor, and Sally Hess. Sigman went on to perform with Ze’eva Cohen Chamber Projects before forming her own company. She has also been rehearsal director of the Belgian Irma Vandenbroucke! Danstheater and has collaborated with the Brooklyn-based collective Red Dive.

Known as a compelling solo performer, Sigman has created numerous solo shows. "Sigman is riveting," the Village Voice wrote of Vision Begins, "an elf with the rebelliousness of the '60s avant-garde, the piscine fluidity of a Tharp dancer, and the charisma and athleticism of today's virtuosos." Her work for large groups grows out of her exploration of solo performance.

As an educator, Sigman gives workshops in technique, improvisation, composition, and dance theory, as well as educational presentations at colleges, high schools, and community centers. She has been a member of the dance faculty at Princeton University, a Movement Tutor at the Imaginary Academy in Grozjnan, Croatia, a professor of aesthetics at Brooklyn College, and a frequent guest teacher in Belgium. Sigman writes and lectures on art theory and has been published in The Journal of Philosophical Research and Midwest Studies in Philosophy, and profiled for her integration of body and theory in the Serbian feminist journal Pro Femina. She has been a guest editor of the Movement Research Performance Journal.

In 2003, Sigman left 200 texts about why she makes art around NYC- in buses, phone booths, public bathrooms, and supermarket freezers.


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