In Motion


Triskelion Arts Split Bill Series

Take a trip to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and enjoy the premiere of two works-in-progress choreographed by emerging and mid-career artists. In this episode, Brit Falcon of Falcon Dance explores the commonalities between bird flocks and human movement, and Renee Gerardo and Jenny Pommiss, working as The Achievements, examine the many ways we try to improve our inner and outer well-being.

AIRED: February 13, 2019 | 0:26:46



My name is Becky Radway.

I am the artistic director and managing director

of Triskelion Arts here in Brooklyn.

Our mission is to foster and develop

the presentation of the performing arts,

so we do that through both our presenting programs

for choreographers and other types of artists.

Split Bill was started both to give artists a chance

to make longer works --

so, they are either artists that have done full-length pieces,

but are now creating something new

and in the middle of that process --

or they're artists that have really only done shorter works

and are looking to branch out into something longer.

People have a hard time finding an opportunity

to show work at that stage --

that sort of in between 20- to 40-minute length.

And having to show that in front of an audience,

I think it makes them really consider their choices

and think about where to take it

once they leave the Split Bill program.

My name is Brit Falcon,

and I'm the artistic director for Falcon Dance.

[ Birds chirping ]

The name of the work is "Momentary Flutter."

It's a work-in-progress.

This piece was inspired when I was at the Beats dance festival,

and I had to create work on the students there

as the emerging choreographer,

and it started to take on this idea of a bird aviary,

and we developed it further

and then we started looking at movement and migration of birds

and how it sort of echoes human behavior

and the psychology of human interactions.

For me, I find that I learn the most about the work

and what it is by performing it and being in costume

and under the light with an audience.

It comes to life in a different way.

It helps us grow and deepen the work.

[ Birds chirping ]

[ Owl hooting ]

[ Chirping continues ]

[ Chirping continues ]

[ Chirping continues ]

[ Chirping continues ]

[ Chirping continues ]

We've also been looking at communication.

So, the way that birds use their vocal cords

and communicate is actually --

they're one of the fewest animals

who are closest linked to humans

and how we communicate and use our vocal cords.

I actually struggled with sound when I first started this work.

Usually, I'm very married to sound and rhythm,

but for some reason, I was having a hard time

figuring out what fit, and I thought,

"Well, let's just use some natural sounds of birds

and create some kind of ambiance."

I will be collaborating with a musician beyond this show.

We needed to work on our own to create material

before we could bring the sound in.

So, for this, I just challenged myself

to keep that natural sound

and almost this minimal feeling and layer on top of that.

[ Birds chirping ]

[ Chirping continues ]

[ Chirping continues ]

[ Chirping continues ]

I'm really drawn to honest work that always has a human quality,

and I feel like the dancers and the performers

are really experiencing something genuine and real.

Being an athlete my whole life,

I'm really drawn to the physicality of the body,

so I really love seeing work

that kind of plays with the extremes and physicality

and allowing somebody to have this kind of raw,

vulnerable place.

[ Birds chirping ]

[ Chirping continues ]

[ Chirping continues ]

[ Chirping continues ]

There's a few moments where each of us

have a moment of kind of, just letting ourselves go.

Things start to pick up,

and it's when the whole group is moving at once

and there's a lot going on, and it feels like there's this,

like, swirling effect of, like, birds taking flight

and protecting their home and re-igniting.

That moment feels like a climax for us,

and after that, there's a bit of a breaking down

and separating out into our own individual selves.

[ Birds chirping ]

[ Chirping continues ]

[ Chirping continues ]

[ Chirping continues ]

There's a commonality between the way birds flock together,

the way that they interact with one another,

and how they can always find their way back to home.

Even traveling miles and miles away,

they always find their way back,

and we were thinking about humans and how we interact

and tapping into our own natural animal instincts,

and I find that, you know, sometimes there's these moments

when we have these instinctual reactions

that come up that we want to indulge in,

but we stop them for some reason.

So, we've really been looking at that and exploring

how to go to extremes.

[ Birds chirping ]

[ Chirping continues ]

[ Chirping continues ]

For modern dance,

it doesn't always have to be about something,

and it doesn't always have to be you either get it or you don't,

or you're right or you're wrong.

It's your own personal feelings.

It's what it evoked in you and what it made you think,

and every person in the audience could have a different feeling

or interpretation of what that was,

and that's okay.

My name is Jenny Pommiss,

and I am one half of the Achievements.

My name is Renee Gerardo,

and I am the other half of the Achievements.

Jenny and I met in a seminar called "Mindflock,"

which was this workshop where you used dramaturgy

to delve into deeper choreographic methods.

And I didn't know Jenny before I showed up,

and we ended up as partners.

Afterwards, we just went,

"We got to keep working together.

We got to keep doing this."

I feel like I should be more, like...

Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Yeah. -Like, pleasant.

Like, "Hmm, nice to see you again."


Our piece, "Vital Signs,"

it's a little bit about trying too hard,

trying hard to make things happen in your life,

and particularly in terms of our inner wellbeing

as well as our outer wellbeing,

and we're sort of playing around

with the inner and outer.

[ Gong sounds ]

Woman: Come up to all fours.

Hands and knees, and...

[ Gong sounds ]

See if you can breathe for really,

truly the whole of humanity,

as if you could teach everyone everywhere to breathe deeply

with your steady, flowing breath.


To exhale, press your right heel down to the ground.

Good. Inhale, heels lift,

and exhale, the left heel sinks.


Exhale, both heels pressed down to the ground.


Inhale, float your right leg up to the sky.

Open the right hip, bend the right knee.

Square off your hips, extend the right leg

straight back behind you.

Go ahead and bring your right hand

to the inside of the right foot.

Heel, toe, the right foot over to the right.

Step your left foot all the way up

to the front of your space,

and both hands to the inside of the left foot,

and feel the triceps, the upper arms,

the upper-outer arms hug into the biceps,

the upper-inner arm.


Without being too rigid about it,

so engage, soften at the same time.

Exhale, bring your feet to your hands.

Walk or hop.

Feel the right thigh sink down into its socket.

That's it.

Inhale, get some length, and exhale,

hug the left knee into your chest.

Round in.

And so, when I say "Quickly inhale,"

come up, hug that left hip into center, release the arms,

interlace your fingers with the opposite grip behind your back.

Good. Exhale. Shoulder blades together.

Downward dog pose.

The left foot steps through.

Back heel roots down.

Warrior One pose.

Lift the low belly up as you sit down into it.

Be honest with yourself because only you really know,

only you really know.

You could sit with it when it's too much,

but too much is too much, and too much is over the edge.

You're going for just the right mixture of effort and ease.

So, forgive yourself for being human.

You do things to feel better or to better yourself,

and those come from an internal motivation,

and then you get external feedback.

And then that external seems to become more important,

and then you lose the internal,

and then there's this back-and-forth

between that of --

What is important is the external informing

how good you feel internally, or is your internal drive

giving you this external feedback,

and then it's coming back in and it's a constant --

like, where do you land?

Be so extra gentle with yourself.

Allow yourself to really, truly take care...

of your body's needs.


Relax your face a little bit.

Just make it count.

Everybody take a deep, clearing breath in,

fill up, up, up, and exhale out the mouth.

Inhale, heels lift.

Exhale, bring your feet to your hand.

Inhale, lengthen out.

Exhale, forward fold. Good.

Bend your knees, come to chair pose as you inhale,

sweep the arms up.

Exhale, fold forward, the legs straight.

Right foot up to your hands. Good.

Inhale, flat back, part lengthens forward.

Exhale, Vinyasa step or jump back.

Sweep the arms up, and exhale, release the hands down.

Good. Deeply breathing,

press the inner edge of the right foot down.

Step back to plank position.

And lengthen from your right hip crease to your right shoulder.

Inhale, upward dog.

So, you shorten the left side of your torso

to lengthen the right side.

Left foot steps through. That's good.

Back heel roots down, Warrior One pose.

When you're ready, step up to half-moon pose,

arms should drop then.

Grab a block if it helps you.

Like, this is such a great practice,

the forgiveness practice,

the practice of modifying and taking deep care,

to just completely wipe the slate clean

of any negative thoughts that you have about yourself.

That's so powerful.

You're amazing.

Seriously, to remember that.

Externally rotate the right hip.

That's it. Right thigh.

...any negative feelings towards, and perhaps...

Inhale, the arms sweep out...

To exhale, fold forwards.

Inhale, lengthen your spine.

Exhale, step back to plank position.

From your plank, shift forwards...

Lower down, chaturanga.

Inhale, heels lift.

Exhale, float your feet up.

Inhale, lengthen. Exhale, fold in.


You're amazing.


[ Gong sounds ]

Collaborating with somebody,

you really have to sit back and listen and take it in

and not be so married

to what your idea is for the day

because you may come in with one thought,

and you come out the other side with another.

If you're lucky, there's a point

where the piece sort of takes on a life of its own

and kind of guides you

as to what the best decision is,

and you almost have to kind of take yourselves

out of it.

We do have a little obsession

with numbers.

My medical report from my last checkup

with, you know,

how many triglycerides were in my blood,

the percentage of this and that in my blood

and the makeup of the interior versus the numbers

that represent our outward performance.

The idea of having this list of numbers that,

you know, that become somehow these identifiers,

or that really represent

how good we feel inside or outside

or our, you know, level of success.

Woman #2: Pride is forever.

Pain is temporary.

Woman #3: Hemoglobin -- 13.1.

You've got this, girl.

Hemendochrine -- 39.9.

You're stronger now.

Platelet count -- 261.

With every step, you're stronger.

Total neutrophils percentage -- 67.2.

Feel the burn.

Do you feel that?

Total lymphocytes percentage -- 26.4.

That is the feeling...

Monocytes percentage -- 5.7.

...of pain and weakness leaving the body.

Eosinophils percentage -- 0.5.

No pain, no gain.

Basophils percentage -- 0.2.

Neutrophils absolute -- 7,526.

Lymphocytes absolute -- 2,957.

Monocytes absolute -- 638.

Eosinophils absolute -- 56.

Basophils absolute -- 22.

Glucose -- 83.

Sodium -- 139.

Potassium -- 4.4.

Chloride -- 103.

Carbon dioxide -- 25.

Urea nitrogen -- 19.

[ Speaking indistinctly ]

Phosphate and phosphorous -- 3.7.

Calcium -- 9.7.

Cholesterol total -- 169.

"Should" is the dirtiest word ever.

Because there are no "shoulds" in dance,

there is no right way,

and you're going to, depending on the day

you walk into a theater and watch a piece,

everybody's going to experience it

through their own, personal lens.

And I think, as a choreographer,

our goal is to make sure our main point is revealed,

but not spoon-fed and shoved in your face.

Revealed enough

so that you are able to take from it

certain things that really make you think

and also question things

about maybe yourself or your life.

I think modern dance gives such a perfect opportunity

for people to have a response that is guttural,

that comes from deep within,

that you don't need to over-intellectualize

or find words for necessarily.

You know, I feel the expectation of an audience

is that they will be entertained in some way,

so I hope to give them some of that,

but also not spoon-feed them,

not give the meaning on a silver platter,

but really, hopefully encourage them

to bring themselves to it.

And this is the one place that I feel very at home.

And when I end up on stage,

no matter how much nervous energy I have,

I know I have so much support

in the years and years and years

that Triskelion has been around, like, that history.

There's sort of a cozy, homey feeling here as well,

and that balance is really hard to find.

So, it's really special and unique to Triskelion,

I think.


[ Both breathing heavily ]


Okay. O-Okay.

-Okay. -Okay.

-Oh. -Okay.

-Okay. -Okay.

-Okay. Okay. Okay. -Okay?

Okay. Okay.

-Okay. -Oh. Ooh.



-Okay. -Okay.

-Okay? -Okay.

Okay! Okay?

-Okay. -Okay. Oh, okay.

Hey. Okay. Okay!

-Okay! -Okay.


Okay. Okay.



Okay. Okay. Okay.

Okay. Okay.

Okay. Okay.








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