We exist in time… There is only now. Right now.
Cecilia Fontanesi - Parcon NYC
Cecilia Fontanesi is a dancer, choreographer, performer, certified movement analyst, neuroscientist, and dance/movement therapist. She graduated from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, LIMS (New York) in 2011, and holds a PhD from CUNY, The Graduate Center.
In New York, she has performed at Lincoln Center, New York Live Arts, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Baruch Performing Arts Center, Five Angels Theater - 52nd Street Project, Dixon Place, Triskelion Arts, Sheen Center, Chez Bushwick Studio, Chashama, and Greenspace.
In 2015, Fontanesi co-founded Parcon NYC, a collective of dancers and movers dedicated to challenging our connection to the environment and social relationships, through play, movement, touch, and reflection.
Parcon draws from both Contact Improvisation and Parkour. Parcon has been practiced and performed in public spaces that anyone can have access to, including Lincoln Center Plaza, Columbia University Lenfest Center for the Arts Plaza, Washington Square Park, Thomas Jefferson Park, Long Island City waterfront, and Hudson River Park, among others. As a collective, Parcon NYC is committed to engaging people across genders, ethnicities, ages, and abilities.
Parcon's short film “Subway stops” (2016) was screened at IDACO 2016, at Film festival "MOVIMENTI di MACCHINA" in collaboration with the Festival de Videodanse de Bourgogne and Future Mell, at the Contact Dance International Film Festival 2017 in Toronto where it was awarded the Silver Award, and at the TWENTYEIGHTHSEPTEMBER Screen Dance Meeting in London, as part of the [SET.mefree] Official Selection 2017.
Since 2016, Parcon NYC has created and performed 12 original dance productions, site-specific performances, flash mobs and community engagement events (https://www.parconhub.com/parcon-nyc).
Importantly, Contact Quarterly (CQ), the international journal of dance, improvisation, performance, and contemporary movement arts published about this emerging dance form in “Parcon” by Dean Beckwith, Cecilia Fontanesi, Javaka Steptoe, and Andrew Suseno.
In March 2020, Cecilia Fontanesi and Funda Gul, co-founders of Parcon NYC, had been invited as facilitators of the Spring Equinox Jam at Earthdance, an internationally renowned artistic residency that has been drawing thousands of artists to Western Massachusetts each year since 1986. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Earthdance Spring Equinox Jam 2020 was cancelled, motivating Cecilia Fontanesi and Funda Gul to invite a group of artists from all over the world to a weekly virtual event engaging this artistic community with local environments, researching through dance practice the perception of distance (and closeness) to one another.
Cecilia Fontanesi and Funda Gul have been holding these weekly Virtual Contact Improvisation Jams since March 2020, connecting artists from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida, Oregon, California, Arkansas, Colorado, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, and Germany. In New York, the events have been held in public performance spaces, like the Lincoln Center Plaza and Columbia University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts Plaza, as a sign of the resiliency of NY cultural life and of performing arts.
Cecilia Fontanesi and Funda Gul at the Lincoln Center Plaza
Shot credit: Zach Pine
Cecilia Fontanesi at Columbia University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts
Shot credit: Pam Mayer
Video Setup at Columbia University Lenfest Center for the Arts Plaza
Photo credit: Cecilia Fontanesi
Parcon NYC continued to produce socially engaged dance work during the COVID-19 emergency presenting a duet by Cecilia Fontanesi and Funda Gul at The Dragon's Egg Plague Project in August 2020. The duet, “Slack Equality,” draws from the allegorical novel, The Plague, by Albert Camus, “everyone has it inside himself, this plague, because no one in the world, no one, can ever be immune.” Cecilia Fontanesi and Funda Gul translate the practice of balancing on a slackline from a purely physical level to a symbolic one. Their ability to stay on and with the line through its unpredictable movements becomes a metaphor for the unpredictability of life. The environment, again, becomes a partner in the dance, as the work can be thought of as a trio between Cecilia Fontanesi, Funda Gul, and the slackline. The physical experience of dancing with the changes the slackline introduces represents the inner work necessary to grapple what it is to be human, facing the randomness in both physical and social environments that one cannot control. The slackline lends itself to symbolize a sort of separation, while at the same time it is a symbol for what is in the middle, a place in between, an unpredictable, tricky place from which it’s easy to fall off, challenging to hold on to, but still possible to be with, to stay with.
Cecilia Fontanesi and Funda Gul in “Slack Equality”
Photo credit: Kurt Brungardt
In April 2021, Cecilia Fontanesi and Funda Gul were invited as panelists for the “FUTURE OF CI” a 3-day international online conference about the future of contact improvisation, offering ideas and reflections on major topics like Equity and Access in a world affected by COVID-19. They had the honor to share this panel as co-founders of Parcon NYC with Bebe Miller, multi-award winning choreographer, dancer, and director, Zach Pine, socially engaged environmental artist, and Nancy Hughes, dancer, choreographer, and founder of Mission Improvable.