Illuminating The Creative Process at The Church in Sag Harbor

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The Guggenheim Works and Process series presented a holiday favorite, Isaac Mizrahi narrating Provofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" in December, 2018 with choreography by John Heginbotham. Photo by Robert Altman.

The Church in Sag Harbor, East Hampton’s Guild Hall and Works & Process at the Guggenheim have announced the LaunchPAD “Process as Destination” pilot program, a collaboration to nurture region-wide support for creative process and encourage artists and audiences to embrace the artistic process as destination.

This winter, two projects set to premiere at Works & Process at the Guggenheim in 2022 will receive fully funded residencies at The Church in Sag Harbor, including artist fees, devoted rehearsal space, living accommodations, transportation and healthcare insurance coverage. The Church will host the artists for these two residencies and provide space in its historic building for rehearsals and all programs. In partnership The Church and Guild Hall are co-organizing community events for younger local artists to interact with these creative groups. In anticipation of its upcoming theater renovation, Guild Hall is partnering with organizations to produce off-site programs.

To foster greater understanding for the artistic process, the public is invited to observe open rehearsals, attend community events co-organized by The Church and Guild Hall, and attend in-process presentations and discussions designed to promote appreciation for the complexities of the artistic process. All programs will take place at The Church, 48 Madison Street, Sag Harbor.

As an artistic incubator, LaunchPAD pairs creators of the performing arts with a region-wide constellation of residency centers throughout New York to develop new work and share works-in-progress. Curated by Works & Process, LaunchPAD supports leading performing artists and a wide variety of performing arts disciplines and artists from historically marginalized backgrounds.

The Guggenheim Museum’s Works and Process program presented Les Ballet Afrik and Ephrat Asherie Dance, Archi Burnett moderator in January, 2020. Photo by Robert Altman.

The upcoming Works & Process LaunchPAD “Process as Destination” offerings at The Church are:

“Third Bird” with libretto by Isaac Mizrahi, music by Nico Muhly and choreography by John Heginbotham will be in residence at The Church from November 29 to December 5. On Thursday, December 2, 3:30 p.m. there will be a show and tell for high school students. On Sunday, December 5, 6:30 p.m. there will be a show and tell for the public. From June 3 to 5, 2022, the piece will have its world premiere at Works & Process at the Guggenheim.

Since 2007, Works & Process has produced sold-out performances of Sergei Prokofiev’s charming children’s classic “Peter & The Wolf” directed and narrated by Isaac Mizrahi. After 100-plus performances, Mizrahi was inspired to create an homage to the iconic work, and during the pandemic, Works & Process commissioned “Third Bird,” with a libretto by Mizrahi, music by composer Nico Muhly, and choreography by John Heginbotham. With a cast of eight, “Third Bird” tells the story of a flying bluebird, a swimming duck, and a running ostrich, and it aims to celebrate each individual’s unique strength.

“New York Is Burning” by Les Ballet Afrik with Omari Wiles will be in residence at The Church from January 3 to 13. On Saturday, January 8, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. there will be an open rehearsal, public invited to observe. On Wednesday, January 12, 3:30 p.m. there will be a vogue dance class. Thursday, January 13, 6:30 p.m. is a show and tell for the public. On January 15 and 16, 2022, the piece will have its world premiere at Works & Process at the Guggenheim.

Since its release in 1990, the documentary “Paris Is Burning” has received critical acclaim for its depiction of the New York drag ball scene and of voguing as a powerful expression of personal pride in the face of racism, homophobia, and the stigma of the AIDS crisis. To honor the film’s 30th anniversary and prior to the pandemic, Works & Process commissioned Omari Wiles, founding father of the House of Oricci and a legend within the ballroom community, to produce “New York Is Burning.” With its premiere at the Guggenheim postponed due to the pandemic, the project received a summer 2020 Works & Process bubble residency at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park and spring 2021 Works & Process bubble residency at Catskill Mountain Foundation for Wiles to develop the commission for his company, Les Ballet Afrik. Throughout this time, Works & Process co-produced Les Ballet Afrik outdoor performances at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park, filmed performances at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and preview performances inside the Guggenheim Rotunda. These performances served as an affirmation of love, acceptance, joy, and resilience.

Just as “Paris Is Burning” did for New York in the 1980s, “New York Is Burning” reflects the aspirations, desires, and yearnings of a diverse group of dancers in a city beset by health, race, and financial crises. Wiles’s new work centers on the artists for whom the dance company serves as a surrogate family including Kya Azeen, Eva Bust A’ Move, Algin Ford-Sterling, Alora Martinez, Shireen Rahimi, Milerka Rodriguez, Kameron N. Saunders, Karma Stylz, Yuki Sukezane, and Yuhee Yang. The long awaited world premiere will bring ballroom to the Guggenheim in a work featuring Wiles’s AfrikFusion, a style that combines traditional African dances and Afrobeat with house dance and vogue.

Tickets and more information for the show and tell public performances on December 5 and January 13 are available at thechurchsagharbor.org. Proof of vaccination and masks required for all performances.

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