Thanks to Bates commission, Maine dancers to debut new work by ALTERNATIVA on March 21

Kathleen Hermesdorf of ALTERNATIVA performs "apparition." (Yvonne M. Portra)

Kathleen Hermesdorf of ALTERNATIVA performs “apparition.” (Yvonne M. Portra)

Ten Maine dancers including Bates College faculty perform the world premiere of a piece by the San Francisco duo ALTERNATIVA at 8 p.m. Friday, March 21, at SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland.

Admission is $8 via or $10 at the door. For more information, please contact 207-828-5600.

The pairing of dancer Kathleen Hermesdorf and electronic musician Albert Mathias, ALTERNATIVA is acclaimed for visceral, dynamic and experimental investigations into ineffable aspects of the human condition. At Space, Hermesdorf and Mathias will also perform their work “apparition.”

Rachel Boggia, assistant professor of dance at Bates and a performer in the new piece, commissioned the work with support from the Bates College Faculty Development Fund. The piece will be developed during ALTERNATIVA’s March 8-21 teaching residency at Bates College.

“When I proposed this project to the other dancers with an email subject heading ‘Kathleen Hermesdorf choreographing on you?’ the positive responses practically jumped out of my screen,” Boggia says.

The other dancers are Carol Dilley, associate professor of dance and director of dance at Bates; Charlotte Griffin, assistant professor of dance at Bowdoin College; Amanda Hamp, faculty fellow in dance at Colby College; Charlaine Katsuyoshi, formerly of the touring production of “The Lion King” and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company;

Also, Annie Kloppenberg, assistant professor of theater and dance at Colby College; Meredith Lyons, admissions director of the Bates Dance Festival; Betsy Miller, a lecturer at Providence College; Audrey Ouelette, an Auburn-based dancer and educator; and Jessamyn Schmidt, who teaches modern dance at Southern Maine Community College.

Since 1998, Hermesdorf and Mathias have created performances that integrate sound and motion within a process, they explain, “that is vigorously intertwined and viscerally transmitted.” Formerly known as Motion-Lab, ALTERNATIVA has produced five evening-length stage works and released eight works for audio CD since 1999.

They describe “apparition” as “a dance of, with, for and by ghosts, in possession and transmission. Live music and video generate an ongoing reconstruction of body, time and space.”

A portrait of dance professor Rachel Boggia by Mike Bradley.

Dance professor Rachel Boggia commissioned, and is among Bates faculty performing in, a piece by ALTERNATIVA. (Mike Bradley/Bates College)

The ALTERNATIVA project continues Bates’ relationship with SPACE. With their Bates theater department colleague Michael Reidy, Kloppenberg and her Colby faculty colleague Todd Coulter, Boggia and Dilley performed “Avalanche,” a work commissioned from Philadelphia’s Headlong Dance Theater, at SPACE in 2013.

The artistic director of ALTERNATIVA, Hermesdorf is an award-winning dance artist, teacher, improviser and choreographer. She has been a member of Bebe Miller Company, has worked with Sara Shelton Mann and Contraband since 1993 and has collaborated with Stephanie Maher in Berlin since 2000. She is a member of the Bates Dance Festival faculty.

Mathias has been creating music for movement since 1991. A regular presence at the Bates Dance Festival, he is a multi-disciplinary musician who provides accompaniment, composition and sound design for stage, CD and film, as well as solo performance works. In 2006 Mathias received a New York “Bessie” award for his work on Bebe Miller’s “Landing/Place.” He is also the primary percussionist for international touring/recording artists LiveHuman, an improvisation-based trio.

Boggia is a choreographer, performer, videographer and video editor. This project with ALTERNATIVA, she says, “was born out of connections made at the Bates Dance Festival. I met Kathleen and Albert my first summer at the festival, when I was right out of school. They totally entranced me and I’ve been looking for a way to work with them ever since.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to bring together this amazing group of dancers from our area to work with them, and to have the rare opportunity to perform for our home community.”

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