Choreographer Makes Bid to be Swiffer’s Spokesman With the Dance Piece “The Pick-Up Artist.”

Let me Introduce You to The Human Swiffer. He’ll Dance Dirty to Pick You Up.
By: Jamie Benson
 
Oct. 6, 2011 - PRLog -- In an elaborate ploy to be Swiffer’s new spokesman, dancer & choreographer Jamie Benson ( http://jamiebenson.com ) has created The Pick-Up Artist ( http://jamiebenson.com/Press.html#swiffer ), literally bending over backwards to “pick up” that filth on your floor. Like the Verizon Guy or Flo the Progressive Girl, every good company needs an iconic personality to represent them & Jamie Benson has a plan for Swiffer. Project Runway’s Andrae Gonzalo will create a garment for Benson made of electro-static cloth. Benson's choreography will raid classic & barbaric dance techniques to clean the stage with his own body. Inspired by Swiffer's current ad campaign wherein lonely people are depicted as dirt or mud & hoping to be "picked up" by Swiffer's extraordinary magnetism, The Pick-Up Artist is only one weapon in the arsenal that is Benson & Gonzalo’s new performance series Mixed Marriages ( http://jamiebenson.com/repertory.html#mixed.marriages ) at Highways Performance Space. Mixed Marriages will unload a slue of juxtapositions of attitudes, classes, objects & concepts. The Pick Up Artist will be a juxtaposition of occupations, as in “Dancer / Janitor” The evening is shared with Choreographer Carmela Hermann & Terrence Luke Johnson & their work Homestretch. Hermann & Benson, both innovative choreographers, make funny, moving & accessible dances that force the audience to run the gamut of human experience.

Title: Mixed Marriages / Homestretch
When: 8:30pm, Friday, October 21st & Saturday, October 22nd.
Where: Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404  
Cost: $20 General Admission, $15 for Members, Students & Seniors.
Tickets: http://highwaysperformance.org/
Reservations: (310) 315-1459

Gay partners, Andrae Gonzalo & Jamie Benson give it to you straight about relationships in Mixed Marriages. These boys slam together opposing attitudes, objects & concepts from their past & present to reveal universal themes of love & loneliness. The evening will include the debut of Untied, a short film following a romance from below knee level (a collaboration with Actor/Filmmaker Jesse Schoem). A high-stakes game of Rock, Paper, Scissors & introduction to the Human Swiffer (he’ll dance dirty) are also in the program. Gonzalo is on hand to bring a theatrical flare & intention to the costuming while Benson’s wry choreographic wit adds lush texture to the event. Both guys put their hearts and bodies on the line in this evening of tragic dance comedy.

Homestretch is a hysterical, poignant, ridiculous & heartbreaking look at real life through the lens of choreographer/new mother, Carmela Hermann & gay retiree & accidental dad/grandfather, Terrence Luke Johnson. This non-linear, post-modern soap opera layers vignettes of pregnancy-obsession, parenthood, daddy issues, retirement, homosexuality, late-life sex & death. Lines become blurred as the two play games with identity; the relationship seemingly morphs from friendship to father/daughter, lovers, & at times, becoming one another in the ultimate act of empathy.  


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Jamie Benson, proclaimed as “one of the strongest, hottest contemporary dancers of his generation" by dance critic Lewis Segal, is a dancer, choreographer and Alumnus of Cornish College of the Arts. Benson first garnered critical attention originating the role of “Eldon” in LATC’s Ovation award winning production of Shag with a Twist in 2005. Back Stage West heralded Benson as “the most Chaplin-like” of this wordless production. Benson has also performed in the Film Rent, McDonald's Mario Art commercial, Rei Aoo's Dance Planet, on the television series Dance360 and as a member of the Rudy Perez Performance Ensemble. For more visit jamiebenson.com.

http://youtu.be/banHokcAciQ




Freelance Fashion Designer, Costume Designer and Visual Artist Andrae Gonzalo first drew national attention as one of the memorable cast members from the 2nd season of Bravo's Project Runway. Today, he continues to design privately for individuals, garment manufacturers and theater events in Los Angeles. Gonzalo also attended NYU's Tisch School of Arts for Theater and taught the Creative Design curriculum at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. He speaks on that subject at colleges around the country. For more visit andraegonzalo.com.


Carmela Hermann has been admired by L.A. Times’ Lewis Segal for her “confrontational connection between dancing and talking”, while proclaiming her work to be “full of wild, unpredictable, emotional swings.” Her article “Learning to Speak,” about text based dance improvisation was published in the book, Taken by Surprise (Wesleyan Press). She has performed in the work of Victoria Marks and collaborated with pioneer dance improviser Simone Forti in improvisational duets. Hermann has taught choreography and improvisation at UCLA, Santa Monica College, and ID Fest. She is the recipient of two Durfee grants and been an artist-in-residence at UCLA’s Hothouse Residency Program. She holds an M.F.A. in Choreography and Performance from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures.


Highways Performance Space is in its 23rd year as Southern California’s boldest center for new performance, promoting the development of contemporary, socially involved artists and art forms from diverse local, national and international communities. Artistic Director Leo Garcia continues to affirm Highways’ mission of developing and presenting innovative performance.

For more information, photos or interviews, please contact Jamie Benson, Choreographer @ 323-704-5287.

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I, Jamie Benson, aim to challenge performance traditions & create dynamic, accessibly original, 21st Century work through choreography & instruction. By pairing classic & barbaric forms of dance & theater, my evolving hybrid-brand of performance attempts to demystify the enigmatic, sometimes cryptic, art form of dance by rummaging through the humor & profundity in everyday rituals & landscapes. This alliance between the ethereal realm of dance & tangible, everyday experience creates an accessible forum for integration, not only for the dance community but also for the general public. My aim is to develop a bridge brand between these different forms in order to affirm their merit to a mass audience.
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