Yard brings together performers for an Island-grown event

Holly Jones, right, The Yard director of artist services and associate producer, and Claire Page, MAKING IT community and education associate, dance atop a hill in the Mytoi gardens. — Gabrielle Mannino

Martha’s Vineyard is home to an unusually high number of people participating in art-making of all kinds, according to a press release from the Yard. The nonprofit supports diverse dance-makers and related artists through residencies, public performances, and education. 

A.R.T. ON THE VINE (Artists Rising Together on the Vineyard) enters its sixth year this month, according to the Yard’s release, and it celebrates the performing arts disciplines that make Martha’s Vineyard “a fertile ground for artistic creation,” and it also pays homage to the Yard’s partnerships and collaboration with neighboring artists throughout the year.

Performances of Island Grown Dance, featuring new work by Abby Bender, DanceTheYard, Claire Page, Tessa Permar, and the 2019 Yard interns is planned for Thursday, August 22, at 7 pm, and Saturday, August 24, at 7 pm, with both performances at the Yard’s Patricia N. Nanon Theater. 

Island Grown Dance features the work of Vineyard-based dance artists in an evening centered on community, collaboration, and creativity, the release says. As part of the Yard’s larger A.R.T. on the Vine event, Island Grown Dances have become an annual tradition. This year, Island Grown Dance will feature works by Abby Bender, DanceTheYard, Tessa Permar, Claire Page, and the 2019 Yard Interns.

Abby Bender is the creative force behind Built on Stilts and was a co-founder and longtime artistic director of Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn, before she relocated to the Island year-round in 2016. Bender has developed 11 evening-length works and over 50 short works since 1997. Her productions have been seen in NYC and on-Island at venues including the Yard, Triskelion Arts, Pathways, Built on Stilts, the Oak Bluffs Public Library, and even inside her own home. In 2014, she was named one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture” by Brooklyn Magazine. 

Dance the Yard (DTY) is comprised of artistic professionals living on Martha’s Vineyard and in New York City, and the members work together to present performances for the public and participate in educational residencies and dance-making programs for children and adults. DTY’s co-directors and choreographers, Alison Manning and Jesse Keller Jason, along with artistic advisor David R. White, have been building a body of work and presenting an annual weekend of performances each summer as part of the YARD ARTS season. 

Tessa Permar grew up dancing on Martha’s Vineyard. After graduating from MVRHS, she trained and performed at Vassar College in New York, in Israel under Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Co., and at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. Tessa also directs musicals, including Hair in 2015, which raised over $8,000 for an Island nonprofit. Her choreography has been performed in Austria, Israel, Scotland, New York, Chicago, and Martha’s Vineyard. 

Claire Page is a dancer, choreographer, and a community and education associate at the Yard, originally from New Jersey. A graduate of The New School, Claire has appeared on stage, in television and film, and has presented work in and around NYC. Claire works with video, spoken word, sound, and choreography while staying committed to fostering awareness and promoting expression through her work in dance education. 

The Yard 2019 interns, Sophia Attebery, Mallory Butler, Amber Lucia Chabus, Ellen Duffy, Jessica Hayward, and Kaitlyn Lawrence, are the newest summer additions to the A.R.T. on the Vine pieces this year. 

For more information about the performance and about tickets, visit dancetheyard.org/islandgrowndance.