alexx makes dances“Shilling is voluptuous, fluid, cascading in her movement. She rises and falls with athletic freedom and a deep sense of physical connectivity.” - Beth Megill, LA Dance Review
“I am a movement artist and filmmaker creating deeply collaborative, multidisciplinary performances that prioritize the body as my primary research site, utilizing improvisation as both a generative tool and a performance practice. Each work yields its own unique process that includes thematic research and active engagement with cameras, costume and material objects, sound and site, resulting in an integrated bricolage of multiple logics existing at once, a new logic, forms yet unseen.”
Alexx Shilling is a Los Angeles-based dance artist who creates site-adaptable, live and filmic dancescapes that invigorate memory and investigate transformation under the moniker alexx makes dances and ann and alexx make dances (2004-2010). Shilling’s original choreography and experimental films have been presented by the Jüdisches Museum München (Germany), REDCAT, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, the Hammer Museum, Highways, Pieter, PAM, homeLA, SOKA Performing Arts Center, Silverlake Independent JCC, Annenberg Beach House, Outlet Dance Festival (NJ), Oklahoma Dance Film Festival, and in New York by Dance New Amsterdam, Dance Film Association, Open House New York, Moviehouse, BAAD, Bushwick Starr, and Chashama. Her work has been supported by generous organizations including Yiddishkayt, Asylum Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, CHIME, UCLA, the Institute of Jewish Creativity, and the California Arts Council.
As a performer, she has collaborated with Victoria Marks since 2010 and Richard Rivera/PHYSUAL since 2002. Other choreographers she has had the privilege to dance for include Kevin Williamson, Laurel Jenkins, Nickels Sunshine, Christine Suarez, DaEun Jung, Hana van der Kolk, Ros Warby, Rebecca Bryant, Alison D’Amato, Ariane Anthony, Artichoke Dance, Alan Danielson, Niles Ford, Dwight Rhoden, Debra Fernandez, Kristen Smiarowski, Sarah Leddy and Rebecca Pappas. Ongoing interdisciplinary collaborators include: Latin Alternative Folk band Cuñao, Yiddishkayt, Taso Papadakis, Pablo Santiago, Sarah Leddy, Alberto Denis, Alethea Pace, Janusz Jaworski, Mimi Yin, Ann Robideaux, and Maria Garcia. Alexx holds an MFA in Choreography and Dance from UCLA’s World Arts & Cultures/Dance Department and a degree in Dance from Skidmore College. She is the Pilates Specialist at Loyola Marymount University and on faculty at Cal State Long Beach. Alexx co-founded the performance platforms Hi, Solo and Gold Series, and co-curates the experimental screen dance platform MOTION CAPTURE at Highways. In addition to Open Source Forms, she holds certifications in Pilates, Maureen Fleming Technique and Yoga.
Shilling’s interdisciplinary research follows three unique strands: site-located performances that question the potential for transformation, the intersection between the fleeting immediacy of live dance and the preservation of still and moving images on film, and works that steal from artistic heroes as a way of paying tribute while constructing new paradigms.
Nothing There There (Topography)
An embodied timespace-travelogue through Yiddishland with four dancers and a live sound score.
Nothing There There is about getting swallowed by borderlands, moss, lush forest. It’s about finding the past through the body. Time travelers become previous inhabitants of the land, emerge from the land, take the land with them. Movement, sculptural materials, costume, text and sound are all at play in this ever-shifting landscape of scale, inscribed pathways, borders and languages.
There is a there there.
Nothing There There is a multi-disciplinary dance performance that examines the bodily experience of visiting sites that for 1000 years teemed with Jewish life and Yiddish culture prior to World War II. Challenging the notion that there is “nothing there,” the piece aims to transpose the fragments and feeling states that showed me what was and what is, there. Perhaps we can construct a new, imaginative space for continuation while wondering, what forms will we give to memory?
Concept & Direction: Alexx Shilling
Brought to life by: Madison Clark, Daniel Miramontes, Justin Morris and Katelyn Sanchez
Composer/Musician: Zachary Kenefick
Maps & Graphics: Betsy Medvedovsky
Costumes: Maria Garcia
Lighting Design: Derek Jones
Additional choreographic contributions by: Rebecca Bryant and Pedro Jimenez
Premiering June 12 & 13 at Stomping Ground LA
Absence: a History
a suspicious attempt at constructing a past without proof
Absence: a History turns the stage into a laboratory for memory; full of holes, the ensemble re-constructs photographic images both still and alive in an effort to re-imagine a fragmented past where absence and loss have reigned in the choreographer’s post-memory. Combining “real” events with imagined and interpreted memories, Alexandra makes us question the validity of our own history by dissecting her post-memories and the (absence of) stories that preoccupy her own life.
Direction and Choreography: alexx shilling (performing live as VJ)
Brought to life by: Sarah Jacobs, Aaron Kahn, Carol McDowell, Madison Page (2013); Dorothy Dubrule, Sarah Leddy, Carol McDowell and Nguyen Nguyen (2015)
Original Sound: Julio C. Montero, Jr. with Gabriel Ramirez
Super 8 film/video: alexx shilling and Henry Shilling
Approximately 45 minutes
The Other Side of Stillness | Installation
you are the pivot point
we are the dance
the dancers rest, they get tired, but the dance GOES ON.
The Other Side of Stillness is a post-modern relay ritual, a never-ending duet for five or more dancers exploring endurance, replacement and constancy amidst the ancient / future landscape of Wonder Valley, CA.
This dual-channel installation combines delicious movement and rigorous practice with stark portraits of the dancers’ entering or exiting a performance state. In their vivid worksuits and Power Accessories, The Modern Dancers of America are bathed in Jesse Neuman’s dynamic digital and acoustic soundscapes.
Concept, Direction and Editing: alexx ahilling
Director of Photography: Taso Papadakis
Original Sound: Jesse Neuman
Brought to life by The Modern Dancers of America:
Barry Brannum, Alison D’Amato, Laurel Jenkins, Sarah Leddy, Madison Page, Gwyneth Shanks, alexx shilling and devika wickremesinghe
The Other Side of Stillness at Dance on Camera Festival
In Geveb, A Journal of Yiddish Studies
on Body of Language with Rob Adler Peckerar and David Schneer
New York Times , on The Long Night
by Jennifer Dunning
“A trip off the beaten dance path can be refreshing, especially when the work is as enjoyably unassuming as the program presented by a duo called ann and alexx make dances…”
“…a zany and complete world was created…at the raucous goings-on.”
LA Dance Review on You Buck, I Plod
by Beth Megill
“This piece takes dance to its edge as the audience witnesses the extreme awkwardness of the dancers with their unfettered determination and commitment to the creative and performative process, Dada-ist in its surreal mundanity. It had the audience laughing at loud at these two contrasting movers.”
LA Dance Chronicle on Be Cool (film) by Jeff Slayton
See Dance on Soft Rise by Jeff Slayton
“Simple pedestrian movements morphed into large, space covering and airborne dance phrases that exposed a wonderful performance chemistry between shilling and Miramontes.”
See Dance on Rage Walk Rise by Jeff Slayton
“It is a work that quickly draws the audience in with complex shifts of direction and facings, while using elegant movement phrases.”
“…pulled the audience in to become part of the fabric of the work.”
See Dance on The Other Side of Stillness | Installation by Jeff Slayton
“….the choreography is not the total focus of this film. It is also the dancers’ interaction with the desert, the sun, the mystery of the night and the wind that gives The Other Side of Stillness its beauty.”
LA Dance Review on Be Cool by Beth Megill
“…process-driven exploration of imagery, body, and personal myth. The result was a journey as open-ended to interpretation as a Murakami novel.”
Examiner.com, on Lilac Dances by MacKenize Pause “…one of the most original performances I’ve ever seen.”
Contact Quarterly on The Sun is Over the Yardarm by Brendan McCall
“…a choreography of place…”
“The dance happens around us, inviting us in like secret sharers … Democratizing the relationship between viewer and performer.”
Attitude Magazine on The Sun Is Over the Yardarm by Lori Ortiz
“…here the choreographer’s poetic and visual sophistication is also revealed. Much of the dance is multi-directional and this is quite exciting. Our view is as choreographed as the dance. We are so close. … The subtle visual poetry and unexpected twists and turns of The Sun Is Over the Yardarm make it seaworthy, and the eerie ghosts of the ship linger.”
“…quick and purposeful dancing.”
SELECT AWARDS & GRANTS
David Shneer New Yiddish Culture Grant, Yiddishkayt (2020)
Foundation for Contemporary Arts Covid-19 Emergency Grant (2020)
Artists in Communities Grant, California Arts Council (2019)
Archive Transformed Residency, CU Boulder (2019)
Asylum Arts Grant (2018)
PAM Residency, Los Angeles, CA (2017)
Wallis Annenberg HELIX Fellowship (2016-17)
Dance Film Association Production Grant (2015)
CHIME Mentorship Grant with Bob Een (2015)
Residency at Millay Colony; Austerlitz, NY (2013)
Residency at Ebenbökhaus; Pasing, Germany (2013)
Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI)’s ARC Grant (2013)
Forti Family Scholarship for Improvisation (2011, 2012)
Mo and Evelyn Ostin Performing Arts Award (2012)
Elaine Krown Klein Fine Arts Scholarship (2011)
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s MCAF Grant (2005)