The BIG ROOM | Erector Square | 319 Peck St New Haven, CT 06513
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The BIG ROOM was founded by dance artist Rachel Bernsen in 2010. It is a studio and performance space that offers a low-tech platform for interdisciplinary collaboration, experimentation and research in dance and performance. It has quickly become known as a “showcase for groundbreakers” (New Haven Advocate), while the Take Your Time series has been described as part of what’s “keeping dance vibrant year round in New Haven” (New Haven Register).

The BIG ROOM is home to TAKE YOUR TIME, an interdisciplinary performance series presenting the work of local and regional performing artists who are challenging the boundaries of their discipline in imaginative and thoughtful ways through experimentation and cross-disciplinary collaboration. The series is a co-presentation of The BIG ROOM and The Uncertainty Music Series. TYT is supported by New Haven's Department of Cultural Affairs' Mayor's Community Arts Grant Program.

"The pleasures of watching a fully improvised show are akin to watching great athletes, or acrobats. It’s watching people with great skill, talent, and craft push those talents to their limits. It’s an artistic high-wire act. Will it succeed? Will it all come crashing down? What thrills lay in store along the way?"
-Brian Slattery
Read the full review of The BIG ROOM's March 14th, 2015 performance with Franz Hautzinger, Isabelle Duthoit, Masters of Ceremony and Carl Testa: The New Haven Independent.

Read the article in the New Haven Independent on our December 2011 Take Your Time Series.

The TAKE YOUR TIME Series was profiled in The New York Times
Read it here


Friday December 16, 2016
A performance event for this moment, bringing New Haven based artists and community together to share work in a salon like setting as a means for dialogue.



$10 (suggested donation) or 2 pre-packaged items of food or personal care items (go to www.ctfoodbank.org for most needed items)
The event will donate all cash proceeds to IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services) of New Haven and all packaged goods to the CT Food Bank
Brought to you by The BIG ROOM and Uncertainty Music Series

Friday November 13, 2015 at 7pm
A new work by Rachel Bernsen and Megan Craig
Music and sound collage by Nick Lloyd, voice by Cora Lloyd and Maria Winther

Colorada is the fourth in a series of collaborations between choreographer Rachel Bernsen and visual artist Megan Craig. Evolving from a series of conversations about color, ambiguity, and emotion, Colorada is a performance and installation piece featuring both artists that employs movement, assemblage, and collage. The work premiered May 31, 2015 at Kunstverein Grafschaft Bentheim, in Neuenhaus, Germany. An informal talk-back with the artists moderated by Emily Coates, a dance artist, writer and assistant professor at Yale University, will immediately follow the performance.

Saturday March 14, 2015 at 7pm
Franz Hautzinger/Isabelle Duthoit + Masters of Ceremony (Rachel Bernsen, Melanie Maar, Taylor Ho Bynum, Abraham Gomez-Delgado) + Carl Testa

Featuring the European duo of trumpeter Hautzinger and clarinetist/vocalist Duthoit, the ritualistic interdisciplinary improvising ensemble Masters of Ceremony (aka Quartet Collective), and the lighting and electronic sounds of Carl Testa, in various groupings of old and new collaborations.

Internationally acclaimed improvisers Franz Hautzinger (Austria) and Isabelle Duthoit (France) have collaborated for many years, creating an abstract music where breathing becomes texture, material and sound. Their instruments (trumpet, clarinet, and the human voice) are pushed to the extreme, yet the music is imbued with form and structure, an extraordinary alliance between two musicians creating one sound. Music for space, space for music, organic yet elegant sounds, a language being invented in the moment. Watch them in performance

Masters of Ceremony (aka Quartet Collective) brings together four artists across disciplines as equal partners in a shared endeavor: dancer/choreographers Rachel Bernsen and Melanie Maar, and musicians Taylor Ho Bynum (various brass instruments) and Abraham Gomez-Delgado (percussion and electronics). Performing together since 2011, the group practices site specific, ritualistic action as a way to experience and share spontaneous composition and choreography, continuously seeking a collective consciousness as well as individual presence. Masters Of Ceremony(aka Quartet Collective)

The duo and quartet will perform separate short sets, then join together in improvised groupings to close out the evening. Composer and electronic musician Carl Testa will also be creating an interactive tapestry of lighting and electronic sound, responsive to the actions of the musicians and dancers. The night offers the opportunity to join these artists in their artistic process, searching for moments of risk, surprise, and unexpected beauty.

Saturday June 14, 2014 at 8pm
Studio Show: Dance Right Now
Chris Aiken & Angie Hauser
Margaret Bennett

Chris Aiken & Angie Hauser
Chris Aiken and Angie Hauser will perform a duet entitled “The Unrepeatable Moment”, demonstrating their finely honed skills of creation and exploration in pursuit of their shared interest in the potential for composing in the moment.

Margaret Bennett will present a new work based on transition: attempting transformation through the movement potential of her body.

Chris Aiken and Angie Hauser, master practitioners of contact improvisation and professors at Smith College, have been making work together for over 10 years. Chris Aiken’s credits include work with legendary contact improvisers Steve Paxton and Nancy Stark Smith, and awards and commissions from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the Walker Art Center and Jacob’s Pillow. Bessie-Award winning Angie Hauser’s collaborations include such acclaimed artists as Bebe Miller, Kirstie Simpson, K.J. Holmes, Elizabeth Streb, and Liz Lerman.

Margaret Bennett is an artist whose work includes architectural interventions, objects, inter-disciplinary collaboration, and choreographic and improvisational performance practices. A 2005 graduate of Connecticut College and currently a first year MFA student in Yale’s sculpture program, Bennett has had residencies at New York Live Arts/ Dance Theater Workshop, Pieter, No Idea Festival, Ritual and Research, the New Museum, Movement Research, AUNTS, and facade/fasad.

Saturday May 4, 2013 at 8pm
TAKE YOUR TIME Performance Series

Quadraphonic Trumpet, Stethoscope, and EITHER for fingertips and small motors: new pieces by trumpeter/composer Liz Allbee

Stack and Bound: both a collaboration with choreographer Rachel Bernsen and visual artist Megan Craig

Using both electro and acoustic trumpet, movement and ‘micro-movements’, Liz Allbee’s transdisciplinary compositions explore how far something can be extended until it isn’t itself any more. “If we stretch the categories of categories how does the sorting machine reply, by laughing out its ears?” Allbee is interested in the bio-feedback of humans and objects, where the lines bleed and mutual transformations happen.

Stack is a collaborative performance project with the visual artist and professor of philosophy Megan Craig and choreographer and dancer Rachel Bernsen. Their work together explores process, the act of making, embodiment, and the relationship to media and form. Stack reflects concretely on the commonality between the creative processes of dancer and painter, as well as the resonances between the material qualities of paint and the fluidity of the dancer's body. The physicality of creation, whether it be an object (a painting) or the ephemeral (live performance), reveals itself through the medium of choreography and sound. An original score will be performed live by composer and performer Taylor Ho Bynum.

Megan and Rachel will also present the beginnings of the second phase of their performative work together, Bound, which continues to explore process as an embodied practice. Both are performers in this work which, using installation and moveable objects, invites more interactivity between things, bodies and each other.

Artist Bios
Liz Allbee's main instrument is trumpet. Her work spans many genres, most often encompassing improvisation, electronic composition, noise, weird pop, minimalist/maximalist brawls, and experimental rock. She also plays conch, electronics, and sometimes sings.
Liz Allbee

Megan Craig is a painter and an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Art at Stony Brook University. Her first book, Levinas and James: Toward a Pragmatic Phenomenology, was published with Indiana University Press in November of 2010. She edited the text Art? No Thing, Analogies between Science, Art, and Philosophy, by the Dutch artist and theorist Fré Ilgen. Craig’s new research is focused around accounts of memory, sensibility, and the ethical importance of ambiguity – with a particular focus on sensation, synaesthesia, color and color perception. Craig has exhibited her paintings nationally and internationally. Recent solo shows include “Views” at Kunstverein Grafschaft Bentheim in Germany, “Lines of Flight” at Sundaram Tagore Gallery in New York, and “If and How” at Scott and Bowne Fine Art in Connecticut. Craig has been awarded painting residencies and grants from several institutions including the Pollack Krasner Foundation, The Weir Farm Trust, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Vermont Studio Center, and the New York Arts Foundation.
Megan Craig

Rachel Bernsen is an independent dance artist, dance educator and certified teacher of the Alexander Technique. Her work has been shown regionally and internationally, from Dance Theater Workshop’s Fresh Tracks to Yale University’s World Performance Project to concerts in Belgium, Italy, Germany, and Holland. She is one-fourth of the transdisciplinary performance group, Quartet Collective with Melanie Maar, Abraham Gomez-Delgado and Taylor Ho Bynum. She is also currently performing with composer Anthony Braxton in his interdisciplinary Pine Top Aerial Music project, and will be choreographing his opera Trillium J in the spring of 2014. Rachel is the founder of the performance space The BIG ROOM in New Haven, CT. She has been awarded grants and residencies including the Mayor's Community Arts Grant from the city of New Haven (2012, 2013) and an NEA honorary fellowship from the Djerassi Resident Artists Program.

Sunday May 5, 2013 at 7pm
The Uncertainty Series at The BIG ROOM
Secret Keeper (with Mary Halvorson and Stephan Crump)
Bill Solomon and Carl Testa Duo

Secret Keeper
Mary Halvorson :: guitar
Stephan Crump :: bass

Bill Solomon and Carl Testa Duo
Bill Solomon :: vibraphone, percussion
Carl Testa :: bass

Saturday March 2, 2013 at 8pm
Take Your Time, SOUND HALL and Uncertainty Music Series presents
Isla de la Mona (Part 1): One man's solitary search for the soul of salsa.

Isla De La Mona is a new multidisciplinary performance piece by composer and artist Abraham Gomez-Delgado. The story illustrates the creation of the EJE, aka the One-Man-Salsa-Band (OMSB), an instrument designed and constructed by Gomez-Delgado to capture all the complex rhythms of Latin music by a single performer. This theater, music and dance piece is part solo, part group performance, featuring Gomez-Delgado along with a cast of extraordinary musicians and dancers: Ali Bello (violin), Alvaro Benavides (electric bass), Pablo Bencid (percussion), Juancho Herrera (guitar, vocals) and Melanie Maar (dance).
Abraham Gomez-Delgado

There will be a post-performance talk with Taylor Ho Bynum, followed by a discussion and Q&A with Taylor and Abraham.

Abraham Gomez-Delgado is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and performance artist of Peruvian and Puerto Rican descent. Born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico he moved to the US as a child. Described by Global Rhythm Magazine as “the new century's mad scientist, creating a musical hybrid so seemingly wrong it can be nothing but right”, Gomez-Delgado leads Zemog el Gallo Bueno, co-leads the trans-idiomatic big band Positive Catastrophe with composer Taylor Ho Bynum, and has a performance art group under the name EJE. He is also a member of the interdisciplinary dance and music performance group Quartet Collective. He is an Assistant Professor of mixed-media at Bloomfield College in New Jersey.

Sunday Feb 10, 2013 at 7:30pm - CANCELED DUE TO STORM
This show will be rescheduled - stay tuned
The Space Between - with Rob Mazurek and Marianne Kim
& Quartet Collective - with Rachel Bernsen, Melanie Maar, Taylor Ho Bynum, and Abraham Gomez-Delgado

The Space Between is a collaboration between composer/cornetist Rob Mazurek and video artist/choreographer Marianne Kim, on a double bill with the interdisciplinary improvisational ensemble Quartet Collective, featuring dancers Rachel Bernsen and Melanie Maar and musicians Taylor Ho Bynum and Abraham Gomez-Delgado. The concert brings together six thrillingly experimental cross-disciplinary performers from across the country for a shared evening of new work.

Commissioned by Meet the Composer Commissioning Music/USA, The Space Between is a multimedia interdisciplinary project utilizing sound, video and movement based on the idea of Psychedelic Illumination Drones. As the image and sound develop an ongoing conversation, Mazurek manipulates and accumulates sound layers in an attempt to relocate where sound can be experienced and embodied, while Kim creates a visual environment through the metaphor of the reflective nature of the Indra Net.

The Space Between was commissioned through Meet The Composer's Commissioning Music/USA program, which was made possible by generous support from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the Ford Foundation, the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, New York City Dept. of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund.

Marianne M. Kim is an interdisciplinary artist whose projects have been presented at venues including The Singapore Arts Festival, Harlem Stage, Jumping Frames International Dance Video Festival in Hong Kong, Zendai MoMA in Shanghai, The Total Museum in Seoul, and Fundacion Ludwig de Cuba. As the assistant director of David Rousseve/Reality’s Saudade she received two Lester Horton Awards for choreography and performance. She is currently an associate professor at Arizona State University’s Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance Program in the School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies. www.mariannekim.com

Rob Mazurek, currently living back in Chicago after eight years in Brazil, creates sound with the thought of Universal Love Wave Correspondence. AND HE MEANS IT. Mazurek over the years has created multiple sound worlds with multiple configurations of humans (Chicago Underground Duo, Trio, Quartet, Orchestra, Exploding Star Orchestra, Sao Paulo Underground, Pharoah Sanders and the Underground, Pulsar Quartet, Starlicker) based on the premise of democratic sound rendering and personal frequency statements. His work with the late Bill Dixon is of particular note, and he has shared the stage with magical music makers from Pharoah Sanders, to Cannibal Ox to Roscoe Mitchell to Mike Ladd.

Click here for Quartet Collective artist bios

Sunday December 9, 2012
The Cygnet Sisters' Cabaret Holiday Party
$12/admission (cash only at the door)
Children welcome

The BIG ROOM hosts an afternoon holiday party with live music by cabaret duo the Cygnet Sisters with old-time restructuralists Dr. Caterwaul's Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps. Featuring classic carols, holiday songs, and oratorio selections. Light refreshments will be provided.

Saturday June 9, 2012 at 8pm
BIG ROOM Studio Show

Emily's Tiny Theater
Dance artist Emily Coates & french horn player Will Orzo

Trumpeter Stephen Haynes & dancer Olivia Iliano-Davis
Kyoko Kitamura (voice)
Joe Morris (guitar)
Ben Stapp (tuba)

Oh Solo
A newly reconstructed solo by dance artist Rachel Bernsen

The Uncertainty Music Series at The BIG ROOM
Sunday June 10, 2012 at 8pm

Rhymes With Opera (RWO)
Baltimore based RWO, is a chamber opera company presenting three short contemporary chamber operas including a new work by New Haven based composer Adam Matlock
Ruby Fulton, composer
Elisabeth Halliday, soprano
George Lam, composer
Bonnie Lander, soprano
Robert Maril, baritone

Saturday May 19, 2012 at 8pm
Take Your Time Performance Series

Robert Bergner & Pamela Newell

Quartet Collective
Rachel Bernsen, Taylor Ho Bynum, Abraham Gomez-Delgado, and Melanie Maar

In their first performance in New Haven since relocating from Montreal, veteran dancers, improvisers and performing artists Robert Bergner and Pamela Newell take on the roles of musician and dancer respectively in their new work Roost. Featuring visual artist Chris Joy.

Quartet Collective is two dancers and two musicians investigating principles of roles, craft, pleasure, story, risk and meaning in performance. They practice spontaneous action as a way to experience and share composition and choreography live.

Saturday Feb 18, 2012 at 8pm
Mary Halvorson & Jessica Pavone

On tour to support their new CD: Departure of Reason out on Thirsty Ear.
Guitarist Mary Halvorson and violist Jessica Pavone's longstanding duo embraces a wide range of musical traditions to create what Time Out New York describes as "a challenging fusion of oblique art song, reflective chamber music and thorny free improv."

Sat & Sun, Dec 3-4, 2011
An Interdisicplinary Performance Series

8pm Saturday / 7pm Sunday
$15/admission ($10 students, seniors) / $20 2-night pass

The weekend’s concerts will examine improvisation across disciplines: each night will offer a different line-up of artists, scholars, and filmmakers who are using and thinking about improvisation in different ways. After each show there will be an informal reception with the artists.

December 3
- A short lecture by Danielle Goldman, professor of the Arts, Dance at the New School, discussing improvisational practices and relationships in dance and music.
- Performance by Action Theory, an improvisational collective featuring Rachel Bernsen (movement), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet), Abraham Gomez-Delgado (guitar, percussion), and Melanie Maar (movement).
- Two new works by New Haven based composer Carl Testa incorporating electronic and acoustic music, set design, and dynamic lighting, featuring Anne Rhodes (voice), Nathan Bontrager (cello), and Bill Solomon (vibraphones).

December 4
- New Haven based MeND Motion Pictures, Tiffany Hopkins and Denise Santisteban, will show an excerpt of their new documentary film Complete In Itself, which takes a close look at the meaning of art, the complexities of being an artist in America today and the many ways that artists are engaging with the larger world.
- NYC Choreographer and performer Melanie Maar will present a new duet, Same Selves, dealing with the performers’ presence mediating between the mysterious and the common, also featuring dancer Marylin Maywald.
- New York City based composer and multi-instrumentalist Abraham Gomez-Delgado presents his solo project EJE, a multi-dimensional kinetic work of performance art using homemade instruments.

Saturday November 19, 8pm
Positive Catastrophe, a trans-idiomatic ten-piece little big band co-led by Taylor Ho Bynum and Abraham Gomez-Delgado
$10 admission (all tickets cash only)

Positive Catastrophe is:
Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet, co-leader), Abraham Gomez-Delgado (vocals, percussion, co-leader), Jen Shyu (vocals, erhu), Matt Bauder (tenor sax, clarinets), Michael Attias (baritone sax), Mark Taylor (french horn), Reut Regev (trombone), Pete Fitzpatrick (guitar), Alvaro Benavides (bass), Tomas Fujiwara (drums)

Tuesday September 13, 8pm
Mark Dresser/Jen Shyu Duo
The Uncertainty Music Series at The BIG ROOM
$10 suggested donation (cash only)
Uncertainty Music Series

Friday and Saturday 27-28 May, 2011 at 8pm
Interdisciplinary Performance Series

Featuring an evening of new dance works
by Rachel Bernsen and
Adele Myers & Dancers
Co-presented by The BIG ROOM and The Uncertainty Music Series.

Rachel Bernsen’s Corridor, with a cast of six dancers and musicians, weaves together simultaneous duets that take place both within tight spaces and across the room from each other. Occurring both in the center of and along the edges of the theater space, the piece delves into tightly delineated phrases that can be viewed from multiple perspectives. The effect is a multi-dimensional layering of sound, space, and movement. Corridor invites a kind of disorientation on the part of the viewer wherein, without any tricks or audience participation, the spectator becomes part of the work. Music composed by Taylor Ho Bynum and Carl Testa.
Performers: Rachel Bernsen (dancer), Taylor Ho Bynum (composer, cornet) , Shola Cole (vocalist, dancer), Kellie Ann Lynch (dancer), Jean Carla Rodea (vocalist), and Carl Testa (composer, bass clarinet)

Adele Myers and Dancers will present a 30-minute excerpt from their most recent work, Theater in the Head—a quest for intimacy between performers and their audience. The dance offers spectacle then reveals its mechanics by stripping them away. Developed with composer Josh Quillen of So Percussion, the evening-length work incorporates Myers' robust athleticism fused with personalized theatricality and humor. The evening-length version of Theater in the Head will premiere at the Progressive Performance Festival June 2-4, 2011, presented and co-commissioned by the Vermont Performance Lab. The dance will continue on a six-venue tour throughout New England in 2011-12.
Performers: Adele Myers, Philip Montana, Rebecca Woods

Friday April 8
Nathan Bontrager (cello), Adam Matlock (accordian, recorders), Anne Rhodes (voice)
$10 (cash only)

Sunday March 13th, 2011
Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet
$10 (cash only)

Friday and Saturday Oct 29-30, 2010.
Take Your Time Fall Festival
Co-presented by The BIG ROOM and The Uncertainty Music Series

Friday Oct 29th:
Return engagements of work by Rachel Bernsen, Carl Testa with vocalist Anne Rhodes (If you missed us in May, this is your chance)
New work-in-progress by Taylor Ho Bynum with vocalist Kyoko Kitamura
Featuring Brooklyn based composer / singer-songwriter Pete Fitzpatrick performing from his Falcatross songbook

Saturday Oct 30th:
Playwright and poet Aaron Jafferis offers a first look at his new hip-hop theater piece about teenagers dealing with chronic illness
Choreographers Emily Coates and Lacina Coulibaly present a New Haven premiere of a new work-in-progress, Ici Ou Ailleurs/Here Or Anyplace Else, a collaboration investigating the possibility that diversity and human connection can coexist simultaneously between individuals and cultures.

Friday May 28, 2010

Photo by Frank Mitchell (RB and Isabelle Duthoit)
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