sugar space

physical theater at Sugar Space
May 23, 2010, 7:08 pm
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Riot Act, a Wyoming based company, is bring the Bogeyman, their physical theater work in June as part of Sugar Space presents.

But what is physical theater?
Good old wikipedia will tell you that physical theater is a mode of story-telling which deviates from traditional theater through a very specific use of the body to amplify the story being told. Now that’s pretty vague but it also goes on to describe that this umbrella holds a lot of popular forms we are familiar with. Physical theater can range from a more-traditional play using conventions of choreography to change the way the story is told to very specific forms like Butoh. One of the most popular physical theater combines is England based DV8. Below is an excerpt from their film “The Cost of Living.”

Where will Riot Act fall in the spectrum of physical theater? Closer to their show date we can post video from their past work and ask them to define their own branch of physical theater. In the meantime feel free to post your own favorite physical theater videos or talk about companies you’ve seen.


last night tonight
May 22, 2010, 3:57 pm
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Regina’s last performance with us is tonight. It has been so great having her in Salt Lake and at Sugar Space. She brings such a different aesthetic to the community and brings about questions of how we form new audiences to explore new forms.
More photos, video of the show and reviews upcoming.

Review of In&Out
May 21, 2010, 5:51 am
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University of Utah MFA candidate Matt Beals visited Sugar Space for In&Out this evening and delivered this review of the show. We thank Matt for sharing his comments with us and encourage anyone who wants to write reviews of Sugar Space shows to submit them. We also encourage you to take the advice he delivers below and see In&Out on Friday or Saturday:
This season in Salt Lake we have celebrated the works and legacies of several great pioneers of Modern Dance, from Michio Ito to Martha Graham, as well as marked the centennial of Alvin Nikolais. We remember these artists for their contributions to defining what is Modern Dance, and work to preserve the legacy of their movement and choreography. Yet we forget that the shared characteristic of these great artists was a rejection of the status quo. This is the other legacy of Modern Dance, a legacy that has been less well-preserved. Neglected, even. As Modern Dance continues to crystallize in form and tradition, the daring to experiment and challenge norms has become dangerously anemic.

Enter Sugar Space, and as they kick off their In & Out performance series, bringing together local choreographer Ashley Anderson with New York-based Regina Rocke, they remind us that not all is lost. In fact, you can take your norms and shove them. The spirit of revolution is alive and well, at least for this weekend.

Before the show even begins, the scene is set such that it’s clear either of these artists would have been successful in the visual arts had they not been claimed by the performance arts. From the delightfully wrinkled white vinyl floor to the candy-green chairs, there is an attention to visual detail that continues throughout the evening in a meticulously messy tone.

The evening opens with a duet by Jen McGinn, set to the music of Judy Garland. The dance itself is intricately designed, yet presented in a very casual manner. The music, movement, and performance quality create a strange contrast that highlights the stranger relation between the dancers as they take turns in a dialogue of disconnection and fleeting vulnerability. Are they fighting? Making love? Discussing the weather? Politics, maybe? And who is this third person, pacing through their midst in sparkling ruby red slippers? As the piece comes to a close it may never be clear what we’re supposed to think, and yet those slippers, clicking their heels, remind us that there’s no place like home. And maybe that’s a good thing.

A duet by Ashley Anderson follows, although the two brass horns inhabiting the upstage may make it a quartet. Arranged ever so delicately on the floor, they demand to be played and add an external tension to the dance. The sound score is nothing but the sounds of feet sliding over the vinyl of the floor, and it is mesmerizing. Anderson’s arrangement of movement has a dry humor to it, offering up the occasional surprise in a very matter-of-fact way. And yes, after much flirtation, the horns have their moment. The entire piece has an understated beauty to it that is very satisfying, yet in this lies the one criticism I would level against the work. The dancers carry this energy to the point of flatness, and in their lack of expression is an apathy that dis-invites our own interest in the work.

By now, it’s clear that this isn’t your typical high-energy romp, with pretty legs, flashy spins, and big lifts. Nothing here has been made to please the crowd, and yet it does please. But the real assault begins with the final work by Regina Rocke, featuring some the best ironically bad dancing I have seen, a stream-of-consciousness monologue that is as hilarious as it is offensive, and chocolate syrup. With sprinkles. Perhaps the best explanation is found in the monologue itself: “This is a performance art piece, that’s why we’re doing this.” Don’t try too hard folks, just enjoy the ride. And if you haven’t learned every stop on the Brooklyn L train by the end, it wasn’t for lack of trying.

This is not your big-budget production, but that’s as much a reason to see it as any. Just remember, you don’t go to a punk concert and complain that it’s dirty and noisy. Don’t go to this show and complain that it’s weird and different. But do go. Because it’s weird and different, and in the end that is very, very worthwhile.

in&out preview pictures
May 20, 2010, 6:34 am
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some pictures from the dress rehearsal of in&out

taken by our friend andy murphy.

sugar space second place fabby
May 19, 2010, 3:46 pm
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thanks to Q magazine for ranking us the #2 best new performance company
link to all the fabby winners below.

we thank Q for giving us this recognition.

also we didn’t lie. tonight after our dress rehearsal we’ll post some preview pics (and maybe video) for the show this weekend.
hope you can make it out to see regina rocke!

coming up soon…
May 15, 2010, 4:31 pm
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regina arrives tonight to begin staging her work at sugar space. ashley is also rehearsing with performers kendall rathunde, mike watkiss, sam hanson and danell hathaway.

throughout the week we will post rehearsal previews of what you might see at next weekend’s performance.

in the meantime get your tickets online ( or by phone (888-300-7898)

more of in&out
May 11, 2010, 9:40 pm
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regina made this performance: .

and a lot of other things on her vimeo account.

she even posted some of them to our facebook event page so check them out and get your $10 tickets to in&out.