They are awesome, chaa chaa chaa

I got handed an opportunity to ask a few questions of Amanda Butterfield of Yellow Tape Construction Co. and Cari Palazzolo of Fancy Feast and Belaire. As I recall, one of my first posts was about going to see her play, so, if you’ll excuse me while I come full circle, here’s the goods:

Palazzolo and Butterfield are currently collaborating on Yellowtape’s newest production, WE ARE NORMAL, CHA CHA CHAAA. Billed as a dance epic “featuring five dancers, hordes of feathers, sweet-as-candy indie-pop, and a bad ass beat that’ll make you want to boogie”, it runs October 6, 7, 13 and 14 at Clear Spring Studio.

Interview after the jump:

LP: Amanda, how did you start working with Jonathon (Morgan, co-director of Yellow Tape)? What inspired you to start Yellow Tape?

Amanda Butterfield: Jonathon needed a choreographer for a show he was working on, and I happened to be in town visiting.

We started Yellow Tape because we figured with our powers combined, we could rule. And on a slightly more serious note, we felt that even though dance and theatre are related, the two communities view performance VERY differently. We wanted to change that, and put the best of both worlds into a new performance aesthetic.

Cari, how did you end up collaborating for WE ARE NORMAL?

Cari Palazzolo: Well my friend Wylie apparently took press photos for Amanda/Jonothan’s (sic) last dance epic. I’m not quite sure how it happened that he told her about my music, but…he gave her my email and she pitched the idea to me and I was totally interested! It’s such a small world, seriously. I know Wylie through other friends of mine from previous bands I was in…all around awesome guys with lots of tech knowledge (and apparently hook-ups)!

Amanda, where did you train?

AB: I trained first as a ballerina with the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music. And the second as a bunhead-gone-bad (aka, modern dancer) at Ohio University’s School of Dance. I completely credit OU with the fact that I foremost consider myself a choreographer. They did have to kick those pirouettes right out of me, though.

What do you think the dance scene is like here in Austin compared to other cities? (Where I’m from there’s about a gajillion dance studios, five I can think of off the top of my head, for a town of 80,000. Here? I couldn’t name one, except for Ballet Austin. Your thoughts?)

AB: Someone quoted a statistic to me last week that there are 80 registered dance companies in Austin. I’m very weary of statistics, especially when you hear that “someone” said them. But there is a decent-sized dance community here, actually. You might be surprised. You might just have to dig a little deeper to find it than you would elsewhere. We even have a Bessie-award winning choreographer making work here. Would I like there to be more? Certainly.

One thing that certainly isn’t suffering underexposure is Austin music. Cari, do you think, since there are so many musicians in Austin competing for attention, it’s important to find projects like this to introduce yourself to a new audience, or to take the act “beyond the club”, so to speak?

I definitely do! In fact, i’m honestly pretty unsatisfied with the whole “Club”/”touring band” aesthetic, and playing for an audience in only that context. So frustrating!! This opportunity came up right when I needed it, and I’m SO surprised and excited to be able to be a part of it. I love performing/composing and this is a new mode of both for me, which is so awesome, seriously. I’ve always had dreams of composing music for other elements…ie. background music/soundtracks… This is even better because now I can be in the background AND be present at the same time.

Is the soundtrack mostly comprised of Belaire’s catalogue or did you write all new music to tell the piece’s story?

CP: The soundtrack is mainly Fancy Feast, with 4 songs from the Belaire EP. Fancy Feast will actually be “covering” these 4 Belaire songs though, to give the dance more cohesiveness. So I’ll be performing
Belaire songs solo, in a FF style rather than band format. This mainly means breaking the songs down to fewer elements and pure melodies that I’ll sing on top of – which is what FF is all about. I’m not sure if I’ll be including these on the FF cd’s at the performances, so seeing the performance may be the only time to hear these covers…

What is it about your music that communicates the general feeling of WE ARE NORMAL?

CP: You know, I was really surprised that they picked FF/Belaire music to dance to, maybe because i’d never thought of it in that context before. They’re taking music that’s already been composed and
applying it to this dreamy dance, which somehow amazingly works. I think they were looking for something hip and pop-driven but still with a good dance beat and “wonder” aspect to it. Does this music embody those descriptions? Who knows! I’m just happy they think it works.

See Cari and Amanda make it work in WE ARE NORMAL, CHA CHA CHAAA, a new dance epic running October 6, 7, 13 and 14 at Clear Spring Studio.

Comments are closed.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.