Judy Dworin Performance Project Filmed at Hill-Stead

Judy Dworin Performance Project’s latest production, ColorFields shot on location at Hill-Stead Museum as part of the performing arts series, From the Porch

The restrictions brought by COVID closed some doors but also opened new avenues of creativity. With funding from the Edward T. and Ann C. Roberts Foundation, Judy Dworin Performance Project, Inc. (JDPP) has utilized the power of Zoom and other technology to develop ColorFields, a new dance-theater piece inspired by the work of American abstract expressionist painter Helen Frankenthaler, in partnership with the New Britain Museum of American Art, which is hosting an exhibit of Helen Frankenthaler’s late work as part of their 20/2020 focus on American women artists, and in cooperation with the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation. “It is this process that I find so informative,” says museum director Min Jung Kim. “Learning about [Helen Frankenthaler’s] work, her artistic practice, and seeing how visual art forms can be interpreted into and with movement art forms is so inspirational.”

On July 16, 2020, JDPP held an outdoor in-process exploration of the grounds of the Hill-Stead Museum, the National Historic Landmark and 1901 Farmington, CT home of Theodate Pope Riddle, one of America’s first female architects. With the Colonial Revival house and grounds designed by Riddle herself as the landscape, the JDPP Ensemble dancers experimented with movement, shape, line, and color in the spectacular Sunken Garden and Parterre among other locations. The JDPP Ensemble dancers explored how Helen Frankenthaler’s interest in nature and the improvisational moment inspire and interact to become works of art, making the beautiful grounds of Hill-Stead an active, living element of the performance.

This outdoor dance theater exploration was video recorded by Mindspin LLC in 4K HD and edited to a 22-minute short feature, ColorFields, and premiered by JDPP on August 27, 2020, simultaneously on YouTube, Facebook Live, and the JDPP web site, www.judydworin.org. Says founder and artistic director, Judy Dworin, “I would not have imagined JDPP making a foray into broadcast performance a year ago. While nothing will replace the live theater event, this process has opened rich avenues for JDPP’s artistic development and spirit of innovation as we discover new ways to engage audiences during this challenging time.”

Currently a work-in-progress, ColorFields embodies Judy Dworin Performance Project’s signature artistry, interpreting visual image and spoken word through the vocabulary of dance and movement. ColorFields is a deep exploration into Helen Frankenthaler’s work and process to bring her inspirations and creative choices to life for audiences to ponder. Helen Frankenthaler’s pioneering use of color, the centrality of the improvisational moment in her work, and her inspiration in nature are key touchstones for JDPP’s founder and artistic director, Judy Dworin.

JDPP and New Britain Museum of American Art, in cooperation with the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, are inviting their members and supporters to witness and engage in the creative development of ColorFields through a yearlong series of open rehearsals, project updates, and in-progress showings, both live and online. These developmental milestones will lead to a final performance hosted by NBMAA in May 2021.

Since 1989, Judy Dworin Performance Project, Inc. has used the arts to address social justice issues. JDPP’s mission is to innovate, inspire, educate, and build community to overcome the barriers of race, economic opportunity, culture, and other divisions. JDPP harnesses the arts as a powerful catalyst for positive change and collaboration. JDPP’s award-winning performance work premieres in Hartford and has toured throughout Connecticut, the Northeast, and internationally. Over 4,000 largely underserved adults and children participate in fourteen JDPP residencies and professional performances

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