Dawn Kramer

Now a professor emerita in the Studio for Interrelated Media at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Dawn has recently showed her site-specific performance videos in Paris and Boston. She performed for the third time in From the Horse's Mouth in 2017, inspiring her to continue with live performance based in structured improvisations.

In 2012, the Massachusetts Cultural Council awarded Dawn Kramer an Artist Fellowship in Choreography, the sixth fellowship that the Commonwealth has awarded her since she established her career base in Boston. Kramer's choreography has appeared on 15' high scaffolding (Pipe Dream) and vast rope nets (After Ever), in sites as varied as the Back Bay Train Station and the stairway of the Boston Public Library. Her work has been performed at Jacob's Pillow, Dance Theatre Workshop in NYC, and in Holland, Belgium, Germany, and France as well as throughout New England.

Since 2007, Kramer and Stephen Buck have been collaborating on pieces involving live performance and video projections on the performers. Body of Water premiered June, 2011. The work included installation of six silent video/movement poems, two videos by Buck and live performances by Kramer in a video projection environment. Cracking premiered April 2008 at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. It was later performed at Boston University and Jordan Hall. Katarina Miljkovic created the music, with performance by Kramer and video and lighting by Stephen Buck. This trio also collaborated on Entanglementt, which was presented by the Cambridge Science Festival and Cyberarts in 2009. These works use video projections on the performer(s) to reflect on the nature of choice, the relationship of body to self and gender, and to question the idea of the self as a solid, separate reality.

In 2010, Kramer was awarded a faculty grant from the MassArt Foundation to assist her visit to Kyoto where she made three video/movement poems in temple gardens. The Bogliasco Foundation assisted her creation of Body of Water with a residency in Italy in fall, 2010. All these pieces envision the human being as a smaller, less dominant, or more integrated element of Nature.

Dawn Kramer is a founder of Dance Collective which she co-directed for thirty years, creating and/or performing in approximately seventy works. Her first full-evening, site specific piece, Point of View, moved up the stairway and into the windowsills of the former ICA building in Boston. Her other full-evening works involved large interactive sets designed by Dutch designer, Pieter Smit. In Foreign Fling, she climbed a mountain of defunct TV's and electronics. In One False Move, she and Smit "built" a roller coaster of a path to a height of 12 feet above the stage, singing, speaking several languages, and moving all the while. In After Ever, the dancers climbed, rolled, and flung themselves onto and through a hand-knotted rope net (18'x22') which was dropped into the Cyclorama, bisecting the circular performance space.

During the 70's and 80's, Kramer's work often used ordinary objects from everyday life as physical, metaphorical, and expressive extensions of the performers. Works like Rag, Blue Cheer, Housewares, Conversation Piece, Pressed for Time, and Bits & Pieces reflected aspects of her life as a mother of young children, in often humorous and fractured ways. Works such as Rest Area, Intervals of Heavy Rain, Cameo, the videodance "My Place/or Yours?" and "What We Here Possess" looked at love relationships in various forms and stages. Many of Kramer's large scale works in the late 80's and 90's were presented by Dance Umbrella, in particular Pipe Dream and After Ever which were designed specifically for the Cyclorama building at the Boston Center for the Arts. Choreography such as Raw Stuff (1985), Reach (1993), and Shout! (2000) explored pure movement, each in a distinct way.

Kramer received several grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Artists Foundation, the LEF Foundation, among others. A grant from the French Ministry of Culture enabled a three-month residency at the La Napoule Art Foundation in France. There she collaborated with international artists and created an evening of solo work called, Vous Etes Ici!

Kramer graduated from Sarah Lawrence College where she studied with the late Bessie Schönberg. In addition to her own choreography, Ms. Kramer had the pleasure of performing in Meredith Monk's Celebration Service in Cambridge and in From the Horse's Mouth at Jacob's Pillow, Brandeis University and The Dance Complex, Cambridge, MA. In 2007-2008, Kramer appeared as "Ishtar" in John Holland's Lament for a Dead Companion in Boston and New York performances.

"In my opinion, Dawn Kramer is among the most original, thoughtful, and significant people working in a direction that dance must go if it is to free itself from the bounds of a fixed vocabulary and outworn and insular stereotypes of both ballet and modern dance, and develop serious new forms for conveying perceptions and concepts not accessible by other means. She is also an accomplished and expressive performer, realizing her ideas with dedication and conviction. Her work always inspires new nonverbal thinking."

-- Nelson Goodman
(former) Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
Harvard University
February 17, 1988

Collaborating Artists:

Choreographers:

Judith Chaffee, Martha Armstrong Gray,
and Micki Taylor-Pinney of Dance Collective
Seán Curran
Peter DiMuro

Composers:

Antony Flackett
Fast Forward
John Holland
Katarina Miljkovic
David Moss
Kevin Pelrine
Yuval Ron
Caleb Sampson
Laetitia Sonami
Stan Strickland
Jeff Talman
Patino Vasquez

Musicians:

Melanie Almiron
John Clark
Jeff Davis
Bridget Fitzgerald
Evan Harlan
Ron Heifitz
Randall Hodgkinson
Wanetta Jackson
Christopher O'Reilly
Merle Perkins
Annie Silberman
Sid Smart

Visual Artists/Designers:

Carol Anthony
Bebe Beard
Kate Blacker
Stephen Buck
Candace Fleming
Sara Marhamo
Carol Ramsey
Pieter Smit

Video Artists:

Stephen Buck
Joe Briganti
Robin Doty
Antony Flackett
Corey Smithson
Noah Stout

Poets:

Malek Alloula
Steven Ratiner

Stephen Buck

Retired from lighting, Stephen Buck designed lighting for Boston dance companies such as Dance Collective, Concert Dance Company and Beth Soll & Company, Ramon de los Reyes and worked as a production manager for Dance Umbrella of Boston and technical director of First Night Boston and lighting director for Tod Machover's Brain Opera at the Media Lab at MIT. He also designed for World Music, Celebrity Series and Boston Camerata.  He created the video projections for Dawn Kramer' s "If I were you…", Cracking and Entanglement He continues to work as cameraman and editor for her single channel work. A former choreographer, he has received a Massachusetts Artists Foundation Choreographic Fellowship.


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