By Lindsey Renee Derry

October 1, 2014, PUBLISHED BY IN DANCE
Nearly one year ago while at Djerassi Resident Artists Program, a fellow resident artist recommended I check out resartis.org for additional residency programs I may be interested in applying to. This began the outward spiral that would become my first solo European tour. I discovered three residency centers in Greece, all with a unique formula: loft attached to studio with programming that welcomed resident artists to make new work, teach workshops and perform. Feeling that this setup would be perfect for me, I immediately began work on the applications. I was in the process of completing the creation of POR·TRAI·TURE, my first solo show that was set to premiere at KUNST-STOFF arts (San Francisco) that fall. I imagined how incredible it would be if all three residencies in Greece replied yes thus giving POR·TRAI·TURE a continued life post its premiere.
10. Lindsey Derry Photo by Yvonne M. Portra
Lindsey Renee Derry / Photo by Yvonne M. Portra

Having applied to several other residencies that year with all negative return replies, I knew this dream was far reaching. When all three yeses trickled independently in over the fall, I knew I had a once in a lifetime opportunity at hand. Surprisingly, timing aligned and I was able to add a fourth stop in Berlin at the Stoffwechsel-Metabolism Festival (DOCK 11) where performances of POR·TRAI·TURE and a new solo titled FAIL SAFE by Yannis Adoniou were included. Following sound advice from ODC Deputy Director Christy Bolingbroke and Dancers’ Group Executive Director Wayne Hazzard, I applied to American Dance Abroad’s new Rapid Response grant which L i n s d a n s was graciously awarded. Between the support of this grant, private donors, and the following centers, my what if…fantasy became real: Akropoditi Dance Centre (Syros), Garage Performing Arts Center (Corfu), Kinitiris Studio (Athens) and DOCK 11 (Berlin).

As the new year rolled in and I had to finalize my itinerary, I began to really panic, wondering if the dots that I had been connecting in my mind were in fact connecting in reality. Though in hindsight, all these opportunities aligned beautifully, when I was in the thick of planning and communicating, pieces fell into place in very random order, leaving major holes and questions unanswered at times. With plane tickets bought and only two performance dates actually confirmed, I felt much anxiety, thinking this tour may go either way where everything may fall into place or may fall through. With faith that the unseen was on its way, I kept moving forward. In the end, seven performances manifested. From this, I learned to really trust in the process and to be OK with taking somersaults into the unknown.

Over the month that I was in Greece I had many opportunities to engage with students, performers, educators and choreographers who all gave me insight and understanding at what was presently taking place in the contemporary dance scene there. With all three residencies spread geographically apart, stretching outward from Athens to the Aegean and Ionian Seas, I witnessed and heard a similar story. To sum it up, the economic crisis, though impacting art funding significantly, had not deflated the spirit of the Greek dance community. Something that was occurring to everyone’s surprise was the decentralization and growth of the dance scene away from Athens into other parts of the country less exposed to or rooted in contemporary dance. Akropoditi Dance Centre led by Artistic Director Angeliki Sigourou impressively ran a dance school, company, residency program, and summer festival all with its company members acting as guardians, in a co-op fashion. The Garage Performing Arts Center, a chic and modern new space led by Co-Directors and sisters Mary and Evangelia Randou, was gutted out and built from the bottom up in their father’s old auto repair shop with most labor shared among family and friends. While money may not be the main currency used to get things done in Greece, generosity, hard work and a sense of community and stewardship of the arts surely is.

Wrapping up my seven weeks in Europe was Berlin, a city saturated with artists, art enthusiasts and festivals. It was a true honor to be apart of this year’s Stoffwechsel-Metabolism Festival at DOCK 11 where POR·TRAI·TURE and FAIL SAFE were among new work by Yannis Adoniou in collaboration with Greek musician Minos Matsas and Leyya Mona Tawil. The rawness, uniqueness and daring spirit of DOCK 11 combined with its devoted audience, provided me with the final surge of energy I needed to complete the tour. Reconnecting with Adoniou, who I had previously worked with in San Francisco via his KUNSTSTOFF Dance Company, was also very energizing. Now back in the Bay Area, I am looking forward to digesting all of these magnificent experiences as I begin to create a new solo work for The Feedback hosted by Joe Goode Performance Group at the Annex on Thursday, October 23rd at 8pm.

To learn more about L i n s d a n s, please visit linsdans.org

This article appeared in the October 2014 issue of In Dance.

Lindsey Renee Derry is a graduate of Purchase College Conservatory of Dance with a BFA in Dance Performance-summa cum laude. Derry has worked with RIOULT (Pascal Rioult), Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company and TAKE Dance (Takehiro Ueyama). For five years, Derry spent several months out of the year working with José Navas/Compagnie Flak in Montreal. Presently, Derry is a Contributing Artist with Europe based KUNST-STOFF Productions (Yannis Adoniou and Tomi Paasonen) and dancer at Hope Mohr Dance in San Francisco. In 2012, Derry launched L i n s d a n s to serve as the platform for her solo work both choreographed by herself and guest artists. She is the recipient of the 2013 John D. and Susan P. Diekman Fellowship, an award that enabled her participation at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. For the creation of her solo show POR.TRAI.TURE, Derry worked with guest choreographers José Navas, Sidra Bell, Alex Ketley and Iratxe Ansa. This fall, she joins Santa Clara University as Adjunct Lecturer in Modern Dance and guest choreographer.