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Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Grant Will Bring Acclaimed Choreographer Boris Charmatz to Drexel

June 15, 2015

Photo of Charmatz performance at MoMa
From the Levée des conflits performance at MoMA.

With the support of a $234,400 grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Drexel University will host acclaimed French choreographer Boris Charmatz for a performance of his renowned Levée des conflits—co-presented by FringeArts in September 2016and a series of workshops available to the Philadelphia dance community and general public.

Currently touring internationally, Levée des conflits is a work for 24 dancers, based on 25 cumulative gestures that unfold over time. Both viscerally and conceptually compelling, Levée des conflits affords intimate access to Charmatz’s philosophy, choreographic process and resulting performance practice. In the performance, each dancer develops a movement that is then ‘transmitted’ to the others, accumulating in space, and building person by person, from a solo into more direct relationships and interactions, and finally expanding into a performance of the full series by the entire cast. Levée des conflits was built through workshops with Charmatz and his dancers with a cumulative, participatory framework that additionally allows for exponentially expanding numbers of participants from professional to pedestrian performers. Levée des conflits was performed at MoMa in 2013.

“Charmatz is a brilliant, thoughtful, compelling creator, driven to question and to create multiple platforms for advocacy in redefining the perceived limits of dance as an artform,” said Allen Sabinson, dean of Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. “We are extremely grateful to The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage for making it possible for Drexel and Philadelphia to host such an exemplary and innovative international artist.”

During the September 2016 residency there will be opportunities for the general public to interact with Charmatz’s ideas through discussion and movement experiences. The movement workshops of this residency will be open to the general public with places saved for members of the Philadelphia dance community to allow for a range of participants reflecting Charmatz’s changing and inclusive definition of dance.

“In Levée des conflits Drexel intends to create a window into the way dance ideas are circulated throughout the community,” said Miriam Giguere, director of the Drexel Dance Program, who will oversee the project at Drexel. “The workshops represent a number of different ways in which Philadelphia dance constituencies, including professional and non-professional dancers, in a wide variety of genres including physical theater and community dance practitioners, can interact with Charmatz and his ideas.”

The project’s creative team will bring a complimentary partnership of expertise and interests to the residency. Manfred Fischbeck, founder/director of Group Motion Multimedia Dance Theater, and co-director of the project, will facilitate the process of identifying participants and assist in structuring the implementation of Charmatz's curatorial vision for the residency. Simon Dove, an independent curator and educator, will serve as evaluator, who will employ his knowledge and expertise in curating complex professional and community dance events. Dove's overview and evaluation will focus on the success of the project and prepare the groundwork for a possible future presentation of Charmatz's grander vision for a Musée de la danse in Philadelphia. Lois Welk, the project's manager for community engagement, is the former executive director of Dance USA/Philadelphia. Welk will manage the development and implementation of the community interaction sessions with Charmatz.

Drexel’s Westphal College is experienced in presenting a robust calendar of public programming in arts and culture. In the fall of 2013, the college hosted the first Dance Africa festival in Philadelphia. Similarly, the college provided facilities, advertising, volunteers, participants and audience for the 2014 Philadelphia Flamenco Festival, an event that drew 2,000 people to Drexel’s campus. The Mandell Theater—where the performances will take place—has been the venue for several FringeArts productions and is home of the annual Dance Program Fall Lecture, which has presented free lectures to the public from such artists as Eiko Otake (2014), Deborah Jowitt (2013), and the Mandell Professionals in Residence Project which allowed Drexel to present Pig Iron Theater and New Paradise Laboratories among others.

About The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is a multidisciplinary grantmaker and hub for knowledge sharing, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, and dedicated to fostering a vibrant cultural community in Greater Philadelphia. The Center fulfills this mission by investing in ambitious, imaginative arts and heritage projects that showcase the region’s cultural vitality and enhance public life, and by engaging in an exchange of ideas concerning artistic and interpretive practice with a broad network of cultural leaders. For more information, visit


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