Thursday, January 10, 2013

Somerville’s Callie Chapman Korn and the Zoe Dance Company

By Doug Holder

Zoe Dance Company

  One might pass the window of the Sherman Café in Union Square and see a man in his middle years praying over his New York Times, nursing a cup of coffee, and pondering the remains of his oatmeal scone. That would be me. On this particular morning I was waiting to interview the Artistic Director of the Zoe Dance Company, Callie Chapman Korn.

  Korn is originally from Lynn, Mass. but for a number of years has lived in Somerville with her husband and kids.

  Korn, a graduate of the Boston Conservatory, started the Zoe with her classmates in 2002. They used to perform at places like the Boston Common accompanied by a boom box. They kept at it and they were later performing at a number venues in and around Boston and internationally, such as Somerville’s Art Beat, Harvard Square’s May Fair, Boston Center for the Arts, Mass. College of the Arts, Green Street Studios,  Corporacion Cultural de Las Condes ( Santiago, Chile), and many others. 

  I asked Korn if she considers her company a Modern Dance company. She replied: “Modern Dance was basically a movement of the 1950s. The Postmodern movement was in the 1960s. I like to call us a Contemporary Dance company. We have a fusion of many styles and influences.”

   One part of Zoe’s mission statement (according to their website) is to increase social awareness. Korn has a special interest in the 1970 coup in Chile, and the corruption of government. Through movement, video, and vocalization, some of her dance pieces have addressed this.

   Zoe has no official office. Korn said this true of most local dance companies.

   She said she strives to expand her audience base beyond rich white people. In this regard the company has performed at such venues as the Somerville Dance Festival, and has had performances at the Union Square Plaza, events that are free and open to all.

  I asked Korn what themes she brings to her dance. She said: “Emotion, how people love, how they hate, and how they react to each other.”

  This young choreographer told me she has a performance coming up at the Dance Complex in Cambridge March 1 to 3. It may well be worthwhile for my fellow Somervillians to cross the border to the Republic to view the work of this gifted artist who resides in the Paris of New England, Somerville, Mass.

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