In the summer of 2012, filmmaker Ann Kaneko and choreographer Victoria Marks undertook a six-week residency at Vermont Performance Lab. The project was initiated in response to a perceived gap between teens and adults in the small community of Bellows Falls, Vermont. Working with Youth Services of Windham County and the Rockingham Arts and Museum Project, VPL brought five teenage and five adult women together to move into an “action conversation” led by Marks. This docu-dance film captures the reflections, relationships, and dances of these women.
The film features teen and adult performers: Amber Foster, Margaret Grisczenkow, Alexis Harris, Helen Hildreth, Melissa Laverack, Kathleen Michel, Rachael Shaw, Laura Simoneau, Jenna Smith and Kaitlyn Tullar.
This film was produced by the Vermont Performance Lab, Youth Services of Windham County and the Rockingham Arts and Museum Project. Read here for an interview with Victoria Marks, describing her philosophy about these “action conversations.
“With Ann Kaneko’s unobtrusive camera resting in the sweet detail of Victoria Marks’ ‘Action Conversations,’ this film documents the encounter of two generations of small town American women at the ravaged dawn of the 21st century. Enacting each other’s gestures and metaphors, and constructing a vulnerable home of plastic doll house pieces, they struggle to meet the challenge of authenticity. It’s not pretty; it’s better than that. It’s real.”
– Debra Cash, Executive Director of Boston Dance Alliance
(2008) color, TRT 15 mins, documentary
Collaboration with Choreographer Victoria Marks
Four combat veterans join three civilians to make a performance: A former marine struggles with what it means to take a life; an ex-medic recalls men dying in his arms; a discharged coast guard describes the fragile space between sanity and insanity; and an air force vet performs on stage without succumbing to panic.
In this first Action Conversations project, choreographer Victoria Marks worked with vets confronting trauma, reenacting harrowing moments from the trenches and sharing their ongoing struggle to survive as civilians. This film, which combines documentation from the Highways Performance Space production, rehearsal footage and interviews, bridges the real life experiences of these vets, the movement workshops that explored what happened and the performance that grew out of them. Through this process, they overcome paralyzing fears, culminating in their performance where they publicly share their personal demons.