Eliza Ladd

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My creative practice / research is in the realm of Performance, Devising Theater and the Pedagogy of Physical Training for the Actor. My performance form called Live Sound Action is rooted in the practices of sculpture and percussion — and the activities of touch, hand made work, and the shaping of substances.  Live Sound Action explores presence at the crossroads of sound, image, and body.  It is a creative process technique where performers discover visual, aural, and physical performance by dancing, working and playing with objects and materials such as sticks of wood, pieces of metal, farm buckets, rusty chains, water, and stones.

I make theater that is of artifact, imprint, and a searching for how we become who we are — on both individual and species levels. Through practice with sound, movement, object, song and story, I create performance that is an archeological dig in search of, as well as a remembrance of, who we are, and what our potential is.  In this act of remembering I seek to harness presence, create intimacy with the audience, and bring us toward a recognition of our capacity. My work contains and entertains both gravity and levity, drawing on the principle that they are intertwined.

I am currently integrating Live Sound Action with original text and writing about how creative practice and spiritual practice are intertwined. I am also investigating how creative somatic practices are relevant to social justice issues and the healing of systemic racism.

Upward, The Evolution of My Art Making Practice, a Performance Presentation for 10×10 in Sarasota, Florida (2017). 

I started out in Nature, seeing nature being in nature
That which is above, below, before, behind, 360 degrees around.
The great grace of the sky
The nimble delicate reaching fingers of the trees
Arching canopy of protection, open possibility, potential expansion
The heavens

See Thru Dress, The Evolution of My Art Making Practice, a Performance Presentation for 10×10 in Sarasota, Florida (2017).

Blue Flowers from the sky fall down into my eye
Some people ask why the sky is blue, I know its cause of you
I did locate in the body, visual at first,
The innards, the container, the animal feet
The conscious – ness
The magnificence and the distortion

Rock Land, The Evolution of My Art Making Practice, a Performance Presentation for 10×10 in Sarasota, Florida (2017). 

I did see and feel the trees and the greenery
The boulders underlying in the belly
The rocky hill land scape moving across the territory
Sprouting upward growth, round rooted weight
The flock of birds soaring up above
All in a composition on the page
I did draw

Walking the Land, The Evolution of My Art Making Practice, a Performance Presentation for 10×10 in Sarasota, Florida (2017).

I did translate this drawing to the three dimensional space
Marking with materials on the theatrical floor
Circling with bark, drawing with stones
Walking the land in front of our very own eyes
Freedom came like a pearl, freedom was made by you and me
We were running across the field we were running ourselves right in to the heat
Long thigh bones tore us off, in to the distance, in to the horizon,
Forward in to the next big thing

Holding the Stone, The Evolution of My Art Making Practice, a Performance Presentation for 10×10 in Sarasota, Florida (2017).

I am like Boulders on the sea shore
Water moves me and I rub in to myself
Water moves me, water moves me
Vga d ding ding da dee dee, gene gee da ba da bada bee ba bem bem bem

Ensemble Tools, The Evolution of My Art Making Practice, a Performance Presentation for 10×10 in Sarasota, Florida (2017).

We did work with tools and objects, we the ensemble,
We did sound and sing and stir and plow
We did dig and spoon and fork ourselves forward Like an
Army of Ants, Band of Gorillas
Cloud of Gnats, Congregation of Alligators
Drift of Swine, Murder of Crows
Plague of Locusts, Parliament of Owls
Tribe of Humans, group gathering herd
Ensemble

Shape Shift to Elephants, The Evolution of My Art Making Practice, a Performance Presentation for 10×10 in Sarasota, Florida (2017).

We did shape shift (shift our shape) to become the Elephants
As the humans are able to do
Walking with our weight as Mama and Baby
Iron railroad hooks served as our feet.
We did study the land in this elephant mind
In order to understand our place in the natural order of things

One and Four, The Evolution of My Art Making Practice, a Performance Presentation for 10×10 in Sarasota, Florida (2017).

In our play, “Elephants and Gold”, we find the composition of One and Four
One Poacher Man and four Sleeping Elephants.
Dynamic did emerge, tension between the two,
Competition for space, race, money, Who’s space? Who’s place?
Conflict on this earth between the animals and the humans and the greenery

Standing on Stone, The Evolution of My Art Making Practice, a Performance Presentation for 10×10 in Sarasota, Florida (2017).

Here we are, standing on the stone
Supple toes curled around the circular earth, gripped (to the big ball)
So easy to tilt, lose balance, fall, run astray, topple topple topple over, run away
Four ways of building a tower to the sky, four ways of saying I don’t want to die
O la cantita, bonjour aujourd’oui, yekka sala manaka onoko ye ha yea eheh

Needle Hang, The Evolution of My Art Making Practice, a Performance Presentation for 10×10 in Sarasota, Florida (2017).

Here I am
Just watching the world go by, yup, just watching it pass.
It’s pretty, it’s ugly, it’s disgusting.
(hanging on by the skin of my teeth,  . . .)

Here I am, yup
Thank you.
I love you

Elephants and Gold 3, Contemporary Musical Performance, written and directed by Eliza Ladd (2008 – 2011)

Elephants and Gold 3 is an edited compilation of an ensemble musical I wrote and created as my graduate thesis and continued to develop for both the Boulder and Berkshire Fringe Festivals. My inspiration for the piece came from an article in the New York Times about how elephants are dying out through poaching, trade, and lost environment. The piece addresses the question of Who We Are in relationship to the larger or natural order of things, as well as what we can learn about ourselves through the study and embodiment of animals. I am  investigating the poetry of objects and how we make and unmake our world right before our very eyes, creating Live Sound Action with wood, stones, rope and the iron remnants of old railroads. 

O let me be the greek whore that I am, a comedy about death, Performance, written and directed by Eliza Ladd, video by Laurence Siegel (2012 – 2019)

Five years after graduating from Naropa, I began teaching movement and dance to MFA actors at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory in Sarasota, Florida. Between the years 2012 and 2019 I developed a solo piece at numerous venues including Dixon place, United Solo Festival, the Berkshire Fringe, and Sarasota Contemporary Dance.  I performed one version, O let me be the Greek whore that I am, a comedy about death, at the Sarasolo Festival in 2015. This is a video compilation of excerpts from that iteration of the solo work. 

“Sticks and stones are from the earth, and words are planted later.” My own journey as an artist has followed this trajectory, and so again you see sticks, stones, buckets, earth; and, you hear me telling stories, and engaging once more with the question of Who We Are. We are beings who suffer, and beings who persevere. We are beings who die, and this work encourages us to confront and accept our own mortality. It is “a comedy about death.”

Vocal Percussion Slide Show of Performance and Rehearsal Process (2020)

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While there is no overarching theme that unites every faculty member in this exhibition, everyone is connected to someone else through a web of ideas and provocations. We encourage you to use these tags to navigate from one scholar to the next, while understanding that these concepts do not fully account for the depth and nuance of the work you are encountering

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