“Tourettes” Merges Tics and Performance at Philly Fringe Festival
PHILADELPHIA, PA (August 10, 2012) – Is Tourette syndrome a disorder, or a form of creative intelligence in disguise? On Friday and Saturday, September 7 and 8, at 8:00 p.m. in the Painted Bride Arts Center, the multidisciplinary group of performers and presenters Band of Artists investigates this idea with Philly Fringe audiences in “Tourettes: A Dancing Disorder.”
The performance repeats on Friday and Saturday, September 14 and 15, at 8:00 p.m. in the MainStage Theatre of Arcadia University in Glenside.
In a 90-minute presentation that combines scientific research with modern dance, music and video, Band of Artists traverses the traditional classifications of “art” and “health-event.”
The overwhelming impulse to twitch or vocalize informs the dance vocabulary, bringing audiences into the surreal and highly expressive experience of Tourette’s. In the safe space of performance, people can observe the condition without feeling awkward about staring.
“Tourettes: A Dancing Disorder” also investigates the wonder of being an artist, which choreographer and artistic director Sutie Madison locates in “the ability to understand the angst of one’s existence and express it any way that makes others look longer, think wider and live fuller.”
Madison, who has had Tourette syndrome since she was eight, formed Band of Artists (bandofartists.org) out of the impulse to embrace the condition as part of her artistic identity – a creative journey that has taken her through dance, music, video and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting.
The performance group aims to inspire people to reexamine society’s understanding of disability.
In addition to Madison’s choreography, the show features music by Philadelphia composer and instrumentalist Stephen DiJoseph, who is currently producing an autobiographical film titled SynapTIC Adventure: Tourettes and Beyond (synapticadventure.com). DiJoseph has “partnered” with his Tourette’s throughout his development as a musician and recording artist.
Philadelphia neurologist Dr. James Cook, M.D., will familiarize audiences with the condition and break down some of the stereotypes surrounding it, such as the popular notion that all Tourette’s cases involve coprolalia, the explosive expression of obscenities. (Coprolalia manifests in less than 15 percent of people with Tourette’s.)
Tourette syndrome’s rapid physical and vocal tics may be associated with slower metabolism of the brain chemical dopamine. Individuals with the disorder feel a severe urge to relieve the body’s tension, experienced almost as a premonition of spasms and vocalizations.
As a movement artist with Tourette’s, Madison wonders whether people experiencing the condition are more likely to “pick up on the stress of the world.”
A conversation between artists and audience follows each performance.
“Tourettes: A Dancing Disorder” / Band of Artists
September 7 & 8, 2012
Painted Bride Arts Center, 230 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA
September 14 & 15, 2012
MainStage Theater, Spruance Fine Arts Center, Arcadia University, 450 S. Easton Rd., Glenside, PA
Tickets are $15 and available through Live Arts-Fringe online.