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The Toby at the Indianapolis Museum of Art
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Aphasia Dance Company

by Rita Kohn
June 18, 2011
The Toby at the Indianapolis Museum of Art
4000 Michigan Road
Indianapolis, IN 46208
317-923-1331
4 stars

The Toby at Indianapolis Museum of Art, June 18.

This review was originally published in NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis, IN.

Rita Kohn is a member of the Board of the Dance Critics Association.
We are mesmerized by two human bodies moving in sync with electronic music communicating their worldview from under a patchwork cloth at times topped by saffron/white stretch fabric. Ted Stoffer and Sayaka Kaiwa undulate, crawl, stretch, retract, grow, shrink, butt against, cohabitate, engage, disengage, roll, rise, show limbs, wrap into balls, jag into angles, ever changing like creatures airborne, waterborne, earth connected, recognizably anthropomorphic, always metamorphosing into seemingly impossible positions for human bodies. Sleight of hand wonderment, whimsical interrelationships, questionably induced stillness pull you into the center of each movement, never knowing what to expect from the opening mass of saffron cloth slowly weaving to the tock tick bouncing off the walls to the closing "skin exchange" with a surround sound fullness. Movement grows in companionship with layers upon layers of music suggesting a universe inhabited by a hitherto unknown multitude. While the concept of stretching human expression through a broad swath of movement is not new—MOMIX brought us into inventiveness and physical beauty of a different kind some 30 years ago—Aphasia enlarges the vocabulary with two people filling the stage for an hour-long performance piece titled Rencontres des Imbeciles (Under Erasure), originally produced May 2010 at the Brighton Festival, UK. With this U.S. premiere, Indianapolis native Stoffer returns to showcase his singular art form he has developed during a worldwide dancing and choreographing career since graduation from Warren Central High School in 1998. Kaiwa, a native of Japan, co-creates and performs with Stoffer. Johan van Kreij composed and performed the encompassing music. The enchanting lighting design is by Christian Francois. Learn more at www.dancce.gr/ted_stoffer-en.html.



Belgium-based Aphasia Dance Company makes its U.S. debut with Rencontres des Imbéciles. Originally formed in London by Indy native Ted Stoffer in 1997, the company explores unconventional uses of the body and theatricality to confront paradoxes of human nature. Rencontres des Imbéciles is a visual performance employing the power of surrealistic images, subtle magic, and the concept of metamorphosis, in reference to the summer solstice. Ted Stoffer and Sayaka Kaiwa, create a bizarrely comical, yet curiously touching imaginarium of mysterious creatures that challenge our ability to identify and define.

Ted Stoffer came into contemporary dance via gymnastics, jazz and classical ballet. He has been working throughout Europe as a dancer, choreographer and teacher for the last 15 years. Since 1995 he has been developing his own work, touring throughout the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Belgium. In 1997 he founded his own working structure Aphasia Dance Company. His work has recieved support from The Arts Council of England, Fonds voor de Podiumkunsten NL, Northern Arts Board Lottery Grant UK, London Arts Board, Grand Theatre Gronningen NL, Dance City Newcastle, DansWerkplaats Amsterdam, Tramway Glasgow, Charleroi Danses, Korzo Theatre, The Place London and Essexdance. He has been an Associate Artist at The Place, London, Choreographer in residence at SPRINGDANCE Utrecht and also a recipient of a Jerwood Award for Young Choreographers. He created "Sometimes he seems an enemy…" (1996-7), "Strings Attached" (1997), "In the Emptiness" (1998), "One and(d) other" (2000), "I Enigma" (2000), "We be Armoured Desire" (2004 a video creation) and "Dear Elizabeth, why did you leave so soon?" (2005 a performance installation) In addition to creating works for his own company he has made works on Norrdans in Sweden and (together with Pieterjan Vervondel) on BalletRoto in Santa Dominica. His work as a movement and choreographic assistant includes setting Itzik Galilli's To Topography Too on the Szeged Ballet HU. (1994), "Inn Tidar" (2002) - the first performance by the Brussels-based company Les Ballets du Grand Maghreb - and "Just another Landscape for some Jukebox money (2002) and "Inport - Export" (2006) both by Koen Augustijnen/Les Ballets C. de la B. Since 2000, Ted has regularly taught for - amongst others - Sasha Waltz and guests, Charleroi-Danses, Ultima Vez, Rosas, The Loft Dance Studio, P.A.R.T.S., Independent Dance UK, DV8, Cie. Michelle-Anne De Mey and at ImpulsTanz Vienna. His classes infuse elements of yoga, tai chi / chi gong, improvisation, and set material. As a dancer Ted Stoffer was involved in projects by - amongst others - Scapino Ballet Rotterdam (1991-1993), Itzik Galilli (1993), Rambert Dance Company, London (1994-1995) and Sasha Waltz (2003). More recently he has performed in the creation "Bâche" by the Belgian choreographer Koen Augustijnen / Les Ballets C. de la B.

Description of class by Ted Stoffer

The class starts with a yoga stretch followed by centring practises that draw on tai chi and tango principles of alignment and grounding. The middle part of the class is devoted to guided improvisations that allow dancers to warm up and integrate the body, mind and spirit in their own level and times. The final part of the class is left for choreography so dancers may utilize the awareness they have gained in a fun and challenging choreography. The workshop offers practice and reflection on the meaning and value of movement. It encompasses a broad range of human states and encourages an idiosyncratic yet universal view of human conditions. The workshop will research ways of creating and sustaining personal movement vocabulary essential for people working in the creative arts and for those interested in discovering the potential of physical expression. The workshop utilizes several tools for solo, duet and group work and will be on topics Mr. Stoffer will work on for his next creation, produced by Les Ballets C de la B and premiering in Spring 2008.

Ted Stoffer formed Aphasia Dance Company in 1998 to create a framework in which to investigate the language of the human body. He believes in observation of rhythms of breath, thought, action, reaction and contemplation in the initiation of ones' intent allows for universalism in individual expression. He has danced with Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, Rambert Dance Company, Sasha Waltz & Guests, Les Ballets C de la B, and various freelance choreographers in Europe. He teaches regularly for Ultima Vez, Rosas, Charleroi Danses, Sasha Waltz & Guests and conducts various workshops throughout the world.

Sayaka Kaiwa

Sayaka Kaiwa was born in Japan, lived and educated in Japan, Thailand, USA (Hampshire College and New York City) and Belgium. After graduating from P.A.R.T.S. in 2006, she worked as a freelance dancer in Germany, Denmark, and Belgium. In 2008, she became a choreographic assistant to Ted Stoffer and Veronika Riz. She sees physical movement as a basis of communication and dance as a fundamental form of universal expression.
Aphasia Dance Company

Aphasia Dance Company

Photo © & courtesy of Unknown


Aphasia Dance Company

Aphasia Dance Company

Photo © & courtesy of Unknown

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