Maida Withers Dance Construction Company  
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Collision Course – a.k.a. Pillow Talk
Provocative dance theatre work about the fiction and reality of LUV for the digital age

Collision Course Performances

Seattle International Dance Festival
Beyond the Threshold June 2013
Seattle, Washington

Teatro Cacilda Becker
March 2013 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Performance Space Theater Conduit Dance
June 2013 Portland, Oregon

Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre
Dec 2012 Washington, DC

Collision Course - a.k.a. Pillow Talk from Maida Withers on Vimeo.

“A beautifully complex and thought provoking piece. Sure to have audiences thinking long after the lights go down.”
-Rick Westerkamp, DC Metro Theatre Arts
“Pillows abound in this work. The pillows feel like characters. They ? like a dancer’s lover…or something frightening like a nightmare or a bad memory.”
-PinkLine, Liz Maestri
“The movement sequences were most interesting when Withers explored what dancers could do with the pillows…” Could Nate Bond lift Giselle Ruzany while she was curled in a ball clutching three? (He could.) Could a trio of three guys waddle across the stage with pillows between their legs? (Yes; hysterically funny.) And an arabesque while clutching a pillow between two toes? (Awkward, but possible!)"
-Rebecca Ritzel, Washington Post

Shaun Schroth, Photographer

Shaun Schroth, Photographer

Shaun Schroth, Photographer

Press Photos

Maida Withers
Composer and Musician
Steven C. Hilmy
Visual Design
Anthony Gongora
Nathaniel Bond
Anthony Gongora
Giselle Ruzany
Kelly Bond (2012)
Costume Design
Sigríd Jóhannesdóttir
Lighting Design
Michael Sperber

Collision Course – a.k.a. Pillow Talk  presents a provocative dance theatre work from associated memories, dreams, and nightmares, an off-beat yet delightful spectacle about the fiction and reality of LUV for the digital age.  Conceived and directed by legendary Washington, DC choreographer, Maida Withers, this real yet surreal evening-length performance by four extraordinary dance artists exposes the fragile and volatile nature of relationships through intricate and striking partnering performed with dramatic and forceful innuendo.  The lush white-on-white stage setting provides a palette for the immersive electronic installation of vogue portraits of the dancers and paintings by Anthony Gongora featuring visual poetry and pillow talk by Alex Caldiero, poet and penetrating and compelling electronic music by Steve Hilmy.

Physical and symbolic meanings are derived from white pristine bed pillows that are incorporated into all scenes and dance episodes.  These familiar objects of passion and pleasure provide dancers opportunity to configure/reconfigure the space constructing a sanctuary for intimacy and violence, humor, and even remorse. Pillows are embraced, shared, relayed, and taped to the body like appendages becoming an ever present friend and companion, a shield for protection, a burden, an instrument for violence, a suffocating handicap, a comfort needed for a soft landing.

Collision Course – a.k.a. Pillow Talk is at once bold and delicate, daring, loving and audacious. Pillows thrown, relationships caught! What dreams of love do nightmares bring?

Interview - CultureBot, NYC by Lydia Mokdessi

Review - PinkLine, Washington, DC by Liz Maestri

Review - DC Metro Theater Arts by Rick Westerkamp

Interview - DC Metro Theater Arts by Rick Westerkamp

Excerpts Visual Installation Performance, Site Event

Artist Bios

Maida Withers (Founder, Artistic Director, and Choreography) Born in Kanab, Utah, Maida studied at Brigham Young University (BA) and the University of Utah (MS). Maida is known as a dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, and master teacher. She is recognized internationally for her large-scale multimedia performances, the fresh and often sensual and robust movements that brand her performances, and her intense interest in all things social and political. Maida’s tours internationally include Guatemala, France, Netherlands, Japan, Croatia, China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Brazil, Finland, Venezuela, Mexico, Poland, Germany, and others with sponsorship of U.S. Embassies and the U.S. Department of State, Trust for Mutual Understanding, others. Her dance film shorts have been shown in Germany, Australia, Brazil, and India; California, South Carolina, Washington, DC, Utah, Chicago, and Arlington. Recent awards and commendations to Maida and the Company include the Life-time Achievement Award – Festival in the Desert (2010); Arlington County Fellowship for Filmmaking “Portraits in Dance” (2010); Commission from Research Channel Grant, “Data to Dance, Documentary Film (2008); Pola Nirenska Lifetime Achievement Award (2006); 2006 Metro DC’s highest award annually for dance, “Outstanding Overall Production in a Large Venue;” 2006 Washington DC Mayor’s top prize for “Distinction in a Discipline;” Dance Place Award for Lifelong Achievement in Education, Maida is a Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at The George Washington University.
Steve Hilmy (Resident Composer and Musician) has been on the faculty of The George Washington University Music Department since 1992 where he is the Director of the Electronic Music Studio. He has received grants and awards from such organizations as Meet the Composer, the Southeastern Composers League, ASCAP, BMI, the Peabody Conservatory, and The Virginia Center for Creative Arts, including first prize in the Philip Slates Memorial Composition Contest for "Icarus Falling" (piano and electronics, 1989); the Gustav Klemm Prize for Composition at the Peabody Conservatory in 1991; and 2nd place prize in the Prix d’ete II composition competition at the Peabody Conservatory for “Us” (tenor saxophone and electronics, 1999.). Steve has been performing real time electronic music since 2005 with international performances in Russia, Kenya, Mexico, Croatia, and India with the Dance Construction Company as well as in the USA.
Anthony Gongora (Visual Design and Dancer) an interdisciplinary artist who is compelled by driving curiosity and imagination to create. His ongoing quest to fully explore and understand life has been expressed through his fingertips on computer keyboards, canvasses and clay, and also through the soles of his feet dancing on stages that traverse the globe. Gongora is a choreographer, performer, visual artist and educator, currently teaching at The University of the District of Columbia as an Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Art in the school of Mass Media Visual & Performing Arts and also at the George Washington University Department of Theatre and Dance. He has received several awards for his choreography, which has been performed in venues such as Joyce SoHo, NYC; Dance Center of Columbia College, Chicago; St. Mark’s Church, DanspaceProject, NYC and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Performance experience includes dancing with the companies of Troika Ranch (NYC), Mordine & Company Dance Theatre (Chicago), Maida Withers Dance Construction Company (DC), Jan Erkert & Dancers (Urbana) and Bob Eisen Dance (Chicago).
Alissandru (Alex) Caldiero (poet, sonosopher), a sonal wise guy; grandkid of dadasopher Raul Haussmann, godchild of Gertrude Stein and John Cage, bastard offspring of Sicilian bard Ignaziu Buttitta, pseudo nephew of Allen Ginsberg, and a son of a gun. He makes things that at times appear as language or music or images, and then again as the shape of your own mind. Look! Nothing up his skin! Watch ‘im pull a pome right outta yr heart. Caldiero is a maker (makar) of text-sound and visual works, installations, and publications, including Sound Weave with Theta Naught (Differential Records), Body/Dreams/Organs (Elik Press), and Poetry Is Wanted Here! (Dream Garden Press). He is co-founder of Arba Sicula, society for the preservation of Sicilian language and culture, and featured in Dictionary of the Avant-gardes (Macmillan, London). Caldiero is senior artist in residence at Utah Valley University.
Sigríd Jóhannesdóttir (Costume Design) Sigríður or Sigrid as she is called here in the United States is a native of Iceland. She came to the United States 1988 to pursue her Masters of Fine Arts degree in Theater Design, after having taught Icelandic and History at a college in Keflavik, Iceland for several years.After her graduation she started her own decorative arts company; Scene Studios, Inc., as well as Dedua: a business focusing on fashion accessories. She still runs both companies in Alexandria, Virginia. Through the years she has designed various theatrical productions in Washington D.C. as well as worked on Carmen for the Washington Opera. She has taught theatrical design at American University in Washington D.C. as well as in Morgantown West Virginia. Presently she is a costume design professor at George Washington University.
Ayodamola Okunseinde (Pillow Design and Technical Production) Born in Montclair New Jersey, Ayo spent his formative years living in Nigeria, Oman and Holland. He studied at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of Art and New York Film Academy, La Femis Film Program, Paris, France. Ayo's extensive travels (33 countries) have influenced his work and artistic direction. As creative director and visual artist working in the multimedia field, Ayo has worked with notable artists like Donald Odita and Ike Ude. He has made significant contributions to the Washington D.C. arts scene through his projects "Smacktv: a contemporary arts show", "SCENE" and "Variance". Collaborating with local artists, Ayo has helped to foster interdisciplinary arts projects including "Arabesque Rising," "New Music Compositions," and the "Fresh Produce Film Festival." Okunseinde was the founder of Dissident Display Studios and Gallery on H St NE, Washington, DC (USA). Heavily influenced by mass media and popular culture, he weaves these elements into his works.
Michael A. Sperber (Light Design) is a designer and production specialist who has worked with dance, opera, and theatre companies across the country in a wide variety of roles. Dance: ClancyWorks Dance Company (Technical Director/Lighting Designer); American Dance Festival (Staff Technician). Opera: Lyric Opera Baltimore (Production Stage Manager); Arizona Opera (Asst. Production Manager). Regional theatre: Centerstage (Staff Electrician); National Players (Stage Manager, Sound Designer); American Stage Theatre Company (Master Electrician); Hippodrome Theatre, FL (Electrician). Education: BFA, Theatre Production (University of Florida); National Stage Management Fellowship, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
Kelly Bond – (Dancer) Originally from Mississippi, Kelly Bond is a DC-based independent choreographer and performing artist. Her most recent project, currently titled Still Taking Shape, is an in-progress collaboration with performing artist Melissa Krodman. Prior works include Elephant (2010), Splitting the Difference (2009), and Franko B killed me or An exercise in self-control (2007). In 2009, Kelly co-curated the In-Presentable Festival with the other members of 6MONTHS1LOCATION—an artistic, educational, and social experiment that incorporated the program ex.e.r.ce 08 and took place at the Centre Chorégraphique National de Montpellier in 2008. She holds an MA in European dance-theatre practice from Laban in London, which she attended as a Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholar. She also has a BFA in dance performance and choreography and a BA in English from the University of Southern Mississippi. Kelly was an artist with the Dance/Metro DC 2011 pilot program, Forward Five, and was a 2009 Young Emerging Artist of the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities. She lives with her partner and daughter in DC
Nate Bond (Dancer) is an adjunct faculty member of George Washington University and is currently pursuing his MFA in Dance through a fellowship at GW. He received his BFA in Dance from George Mason University and performed works by notable choreographers Lar Lubovich, Mark Morris, and Robert Battle while attending GMU. Nate also has competitive ballroom dance experience and regularly teaches people of all ages how to dance. He performs locally as a member of Maida Wither’s Dance Construction Company and Rebollar Dance Theater. Through his eclectic training in ballet, modern, contact improvisation and ballroom dance, Nate explores innovative methods and choreography for partner dancing.
Giselle Ruzany – (Dancer) A dance artist who is also a psychotherapist with a private practice in Woodley Park, Washington, DC. She has performed internationally in Rio de Janeiro, Paris and NYC. Recently she presented "Embodied relational gestalt symposium" at Esalen Institute in California. She received her BA in Dance and Psychology at GWU and her Master’s degree at Naropa University in somatic psychology and dance therapy. Giselle is an adjunct faculty at The George Washington University and is part of Maida Withers Dance Construction Company.