Press Release: Hélène Lesterlin

August 7, 2014

Contact: Hélène Lesterlin
Phone: 917 622-0294


Saturday, August 30, 7 pm
FREE and open to the public
On the porch of the Eames House
Woodstock Historical Society, 20 Comeau Drive, Woodstock, NY 12498

Chair seating is limited, you might want to bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit on!

Running time: 40 minutes, followed by a Q&A

Overlook (work-in-progress performance), followed by Q&A

Created and performed by Hélène Lesterlin, in collaboration with the Historical Society of Woodstock

A lecture, a dance with memory, a time machine, a dream of utopia. Using creative interviews with village elders and the explosively inspiring archives of the Historical Society of Woodstock, this solo performance delves into local lore, wild personal narratives, and the unique stories of the many characters populating Woodstock’s art colony heyday.

Woodstock, a village laid out on the flank of Overlook Mountain, became synonymous with Bohemia as artists settled its hillsides in the 1900s, in a sweeping effort to create a thriving art colony and utopian community. Roaring through the 20s and beyond, it became known as much for revelry as for art. Through the lens of memory, on a foundation of first-hand accounts, this performance delves into the aspirations, dreams and lives that swirled around the Byrdcliffe and Maverick art colonies.

Using an amalgam of voices, historical accounts and essays, original texts, dance, and handheld 2D figures, this solo illuminates themes of art-making, aging, high jinx, and a rooted sense of place.

This project is based on interviews with members of the community, whose memories and stories form the foundation of the text. This project is also made possible with the invaluable expertise and kind attention of the staff and board of the Historical Society of Woodstock, as well as its overwhelmingly rich archive. 

This project is also made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by Arts Mid-Hudson.

About the artist

Hélène Lesterlin creates performances and time-based art works. Founded in 2012, Studio Reynard is home base for her work as artist, director, performer, curator and instigator of collaborative projects.

Current projects include a series of works steeped in French medieval sources – tapestries, folk tales, troubadour ballads, and encyclopedic lists of real and fantastic creatures; Fox vs. Kingdom, a satiric puppet show based on the story cycle of Reynard the Fox, was last seen in NYC as part of the St. Ann’s Warehouse Puppet Lab’s 2014 Labapalooza festival; Darkling, a somber, transmogrifying solo dance performance with live interactive video was presented in the Cinedans festival (Amsterdam, The Netherlands); and Echo, a walking sound work that visits ghosts using micro radio transmitters is in progress. She is also creating Geographica, an improvised dance duet with a radio-based score for Wave Farm’s Groundswell 2014 event at Olana, mining the Olana archive for source material and responding to the historic site.

From 2005 – 2011, Lesterlin served as founding Curator for Dance and Theater at EMPAC – the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – an institution dedicated to the production and presentation of adventurous contemporary work spanning performance, media, installation and art. She is the recipient of awards and residencies, including the 2014 Individual Artist Grant, a Decentralization Program regrant from NYSCA, administered by Arts Mid Hudson; the Summer Stages Choreography Fellowship (Concord, MA); an Artward Bound residency administered by the Field (Sperryville, VA); and a training residency sponsored by the Fondation Royaumont in France. She was selected to participate in TCG’s Artistic Leadership training in 2004. In 1999-2000, a Luce Fellowship allowed her to pursue her work for a year in Taipei, Taiwan. She holds a BA in Visual Art (sculpture/performance) from Yale College and a MFA in Dance from Bennington College. She grew up in Paris, London and New York City, and currently lives in upstate NY.