Arts News: Charlotte Street Renews Commitment to Cutting-Edge Choreography

Making Moves is moving.

After a successful establishment year, Charlotte Street Foundation renewed the monthly choreographic showcase for 2020 and is bringing it to the Foundation’s new location at 3333 Wyoming.

Previously, “Making Moves,” produced by Charlotte Street studio resident Kyle Mullins, was presented every second Thursday at the Charlotte Street Foundation’s Capsule Performing Arts Space at 1664 Broadway Blvd.

With stay-at-home orders in effect in Kansas City, “Making Moves” transferred its April performance with Haley Kostas — described as “checking in: a movement class for finding new ways to move even when it feels like we can’t” — to a Zoom meeting.

Mullins, in reimagining the programming and presentation, said he believes in “the importance of gathering any way we can.”

“Making Moves” has shared the work of choreographers Tristian Griffin, Jane Gotch, Maura Garcia, Ilana Silverstein and others, as well as presentations for NACHMO (National Choreography Month), dance film viewings and community gatherings.

“We’ve had people walking by and be like, ‘This looks cool; what are you doing in here? Can I jump in?’” said Mullins.

Mullins grew up in Overland Park. He studied dance at the University of Arizona, then moved to New York City, where he completed his master’s degree at Tisch School of the Arts. “I had just hit my 10-year anniversary of living in New York City. It was one of those gut decisions that it was time to close that chapter and move on,” he said. “I thought I would live at my parents’ house for two months and then move elsewhere.”

That was about three years ago. He became involved with Charlotte Street Foundation in September 2018 and launched Making Moves in January 2019.

“I was excited to see that there was a lot more dance and dance-making going on than I had any idea about, but . . . I just didn’t feel like there was really a place where everybody was together in the same room. At the same time, I felt that there weren’t a lot of opportunities for trial and error within the process of artmaking,” he said.

Mullins started the series with an Improv Jam, open to anyone, of any age. “It was my idea of how to get our feet wet, to get people in a room . . . and see who I was and what the space was and what this community might feel like,” Mullins said.

“They’ve actually been some of my favorite Making Moves events, and I think the most community-building of them. A lot of friendships have been born from our Improv Jams,” he said. They’ve done three so far, and he plans to make it a biannual event.

As a studio resident, Mullins also had the chance to start up another long-held dream, creating his own company. Cerca Trova (pronounced “chair-kuh tro-vuh,” meaning “seek and find”) had its first shows September and December 2019. So far they’ve only done works by Mullins, but that’s not his ultimate goal. He’s more interested in creating a rep company, a place to stage historic works from modern dance’s legacy.

Through Making Moves and Cerca Trova, Mullins wants to bring in more regional and national artists to share their work. “I think that people are convinced that Kansas City audiences need to be handled with kid gloves, and to show work that is really safe. I don’t necessarily think that’s the case. I think it’s just more a matter of continued exposure.”

The new space presents exciting possibilities, once gatherings are allowed again. “It’s going to allow us to really level up the quality, in terms of production values, of what we are presenting. It will allow me to be a little more hands-on with the artists because right now I’m pretty much doing everything, setting up chairs, the sound system, refreshments.”

He laughed. “I kind of love the DIY aspect of it the last 18 months or so, but it’ll be okay to not have to do all that as well.”

For Making Moves 17, Maura García will provide a glimpse into the creative process of her current work-in-progress, Ancestor Dances. The event will be streamed online twice on May 14th, once at 3pm and once at 8pm (CST). More performances to be announced via Facebook (@MakingMovesKansasCity and @CharlotteStreet), Instagram (@making___moves), and at www.cercatrovadance.com/MakingMoves.

Above: “Making Moves #8: Buck” was performed at Charlotte Street’s former Capsule space last August. Kyle Mullins appears at far right. (photo by Eric Rothwell)

About The Author: Libby Hanssen

Libby Hanssen

Libby Hanssen covers the performing arts in Kansas City. She maintains the culture blog, “Proust Eats a Sandwich,” and writes poetry and children’s books. She holds a master’s degree in trombone performance from UMKC Conservatory and currently works at UMKC’s Music/Media Library.

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