photo: will kerner
Zap McConnell's 2019 Bio:
Zap McConnell began investigating dance/movement performance at North Carolina School of the Arts (NCSA) in 1988. Upon leaving NCSA, she began traveling, splitting her time between performance, visual arts and direct environmental activism in Northern California, NYC, Idaho, Mexico, Costa Rica and Colorado. Zap has been involved with the Zen Monkey Project (ZMP) since 1995 performing, teaching, stage managing, producing and directing evening-length pieces. She facilitated the New Dance Space and co-facilitated Studio 11 at the McGuffey Art Center, organized performance festivals and ZMP’s summer dance intensives. Zap is also a visual artist who regularly creates and prints cartoon books, paints, makes murals, sculpture and who builds performance installation sets that also include lights and costumes. Zap has been a main organizer for many large scale community endeavors, spanning from a huge local artist created carnival (A Charlottesville Wunderkammer), to an in-depth political community weekend investigating the past and present of Native Americans (Columbus Day; Myth and the American Dream), to the adoption, with the stream ecology class, of a highly impaired stream for over ten years. Zap was a full time core teacher at the Living Education Center for Ecology and the Arts, an alternative high school in Charlottesville, Virginia, for almost a decade.
Since 2008, Zap has split her time between U.S.A. and Mexico; and between performances, art shows and teaching. In Mexico, Zap started her connection through a commission from Performática (an International Dance Festival) to make a site specific performance on the campus of Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP), working with students of Dance and Visual Arts in order to explore the history of the land. She has returned countless times as a guest artist, teaching and making extensive work with UDLAP students, within Performática and working with local artists in Cholula/Puebla.
In the U.S.A., Zap has had over a dozen art shows (N.C./V.A.), created @hand productions, been part of many Dance Festivals, planned/produced/participated in countless Artistic Residencies, and performed/built sets/ran tech/toured/consulted for Theater/Art/Dance groups. Zap co-created the Chicken Bank Collective (CBC), an interdisciplinary and international arts collective, the fall of 2014, then relocated to North Carolina to create her art studio: CABIN. Zap (with-in CBC) has been invited to be part of On-site/In-site Dance Festival two years in a row (Spring 2016/2017). She has screened her first feature length Dance for Film: Secondary Succession she directed and co-created with CBC, in NC, California, Colorado and Mexico. Zap is currently a candidate for a MFA in Dance Performance from Hollins University and is in process of creating her next film project: the owl of Minerva arrives only at dusk, as well as an installation site specific performance: all things discarded:an indwelling.
Zap McConnell is a local NC native that has been consistently contributing to her creative community with her work for the last 29 years through her endeavors in visual arts, movement, dance, and film as a director, co-creator, and teacher. Zap is a director/producer/performer of multimedia site specific performance experiences.
All of Zap’s work is animated by passionate beliefs and values that flower out of her fierce love of the natural world. Art, education, collaboration, and activism have been interwoven throughout her life. Zap approaches her work with the challenge to do things that mean something to her while supporting the communities/bio regions she is a part of. Through the years, her focus on sustainability has manifested in dream-scapes of image, movement, and music, informing not only the content of the performances but the processes by which that work was created.
Since 1995 Zap has been a directing member of Zen Monkey Project; founded @hand productions; co-created Chicken Bank Collective (an international interdisciplinary arts collective); Produced/created/directed the unearthing (an international site-specific installation based dance performance shown in the USA and Mexico); had commissioned large scale art installations in NC and VA; and has been involved in set development of the play Pip and Twig over 4 renditions, including the Fringe Festival in Scotland. Zap has had over 25 art shows in NC, VA and Mexico and currently is a member of McGuffey Art Center, as well as a candidate for a MFA in Dance Performance at Hollins University.
Zap:::McConnell CV 2019
~Over twenty nine years of experience as a professional visual artist: painting, drawing, printing, book & paper making, installations, mixed media sculpture, costuming, sets and lighting.
~Twenty seven years of professional Dance and Theater performance in México, Scotland and Virginia, California, Colorado, North Carolina USA.
~Twenty three years of teaching from Montessori age to adult.
~Self-produced and commissioned primarily in México, and North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, California USA.
~1995-present Director & Performer, Zen Monkey Project (ZMP), Group of Contemporary Movement Artists.
~Highly involved in the creative process of all aspects of performance.
~Member of McGuffey Art Center since 2004. (Charlottesville,USA)
~Formed @hand productions 2010.
~Co-Created Chicken Bank Collective (CBC) 2014.
~Created CABIN Studio 2015.
~Currently a candidate for a MFA in Dance Performance at Hollins University.
~North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, USA 1988-1991.
~Workshops in Craft Arts with: MaryAnn Zotto and Kathy Steinberger (Penland, USA) in Drawing/Painting/Bookmaking through the Johnson Legacy Fund for Art Full Scholarship, Kip O’Krongley (Penland, USA) in Clay through Special Work Study Scholarship, Karen Kunc (Penland) in Printmaking through the awarded Ann Skipper McAden Scholarship, Preston Lawing (Penland) in Printmaking, Lisa Pressman (Penland) in Encaustic Painting, Russell Richards (McGuffey Art Center) in Printmaking.
~Workshops in Dance with: Nancy Stark Smith, K.J. Holmes, Ishmael Houstan-Jones, Ray Elliot Schwartz, Katharine Birdsall, Savitri Durkee, Karl Frost, Brad Stoller, Pina Bausch Dance Company, Sigfrido Aguilar, Performatica and many Contact Improvisation and Improvisation Festivals west coast and east coast of the USA and México.
2019 CABIN and Hunting Ridge Farm for Film: the owl of Minerva arrives only at dusk (NC, and VA, USA) Director/Co-Creator/Producer/Project Manager
2019 Installation creation with Liz Simmons at CABIN for film: the owl of Minerva arrives only at dusk ( NC, USA) Director/Co-Creator/Producer
2019 Solo creation at FloorSpace Studio by Brooke McNamara and Lauren Beale (CO, USA) Performer/Co-Creator
2018 Cómo subir una montaña (Chiapas, México) Performer/Teacher, (with CBC)
2018 Hechas de Historias (Xalapa, Mexico) Performer/Teacher, (with CBC)
2018 Voces que ven (Puebla, Mexico),Performer/Teacher, (with CBC)
2016 Chrysalis (VA, USA) Co-Creator/Performer/Producer, (with CBC)
2016 Permeabilidad Espontánea (Cholula, México) Director/Producer, (with CBC)
2015 Alloy (Boulder/Colorado Springs CO, USA) Co-Creator/Performer/Producer, (with CBC)
2018-2019 Commissions year long: art for arts sake (NC, USA)
2018 Presentation of Cómo subir una montaña (Chiapas, México) Artist, (with CBC)
2017 Collaborative Show with Liz Simmons, Delurk Gallery (NC, USA)
2017 Commissions: Native Pond (VA,USA)
2017 Commissions: ARTivism (VA, USA)
2016/2015/2013 Krankies Holiday Craft Fair (NC, USA)
2014 Julie Rothschild Movement Studio (CO, USA)
2014 Native Pond: Architectural Details/for Dance/Sound Studios (VA, USA)
2013/2011/2009/2005 Electric Moustache Gallery (NC, USA)
2013 Wilders Grove Project, a community based public art piece featured in the Platinum Leed Recycling Center (NC, USA) Consultant/Part of group of Artists
2013 House Salon/Encaustic Paintings (VA,USA)
2012 Group Show, Installation in the UNEARTHING (VA,USA)
2011 Ciudad Mural Project (Puebla, México) Muralist
2010 Huge Wall Commission, Mary’s Gourmet Diner (NC, USA)
2009/2007/2005/2002/2001 Mary’s of Course (NC, USA)
2009 Life blood of the Black Lamb Installation (Puebla, México)
2007/2011 Blue Moon Diner (VA,USA)
2005 Designed an Art-0-Mat (VA and NC,USA)
2004 Installation based on Three of Swords/Twisted Branch Tea Haus (VA, USA)
2004 Group Show, The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative (VA,USA)
2019 Choreo-lab and Improvisation, MOVIENDO LA FRONTERA: DANCING THROUGH / IN-BETWEEN BORDERS (University of Texas at El Paso, USA), (with CBC )
2018 Cómo subir una montaña (Chiapas, México), (with CBC)
2018 Hechas de Historias (Xalapa, México), (with CBC)
2018 Voces que ven (Puebla, México), (with CBC)
2018 Performática: From the Outside back In (Puebla, México), (with CBC)
2017 The Practice of Making, North Columbia Schoolhouse (CA, USA)
2017 Guest Art Teacher, Watershed High School (CO, USA)
2017 Guest Artist, On Site/In Sight Dance Festival (NC, USA), (with CBC)
2016 Guest Artist, A Common Practice, hosted by Helen Simoneau & Jessie Laurita-Spanglet (NC, USA)
2016 Guest Artist, On Site/In Sight Dance Festival (NC, USA), (with CBC)
2016 CBC Spring Residency/Chrysalis: Improvisation, Dance for Screen workshop at Light House, Movement for after school kids (VA, USA)
2008-2016 Choreography,Technique of Performance, Somatics, Composition, Improvisation and Site Specific Work as a periodical Guest Artist (Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP) México)
2016 Performática: Site-Specific Improvisation, Composition and Performance (México)
2014-2015 The Practice of Making/Co-Creator and Teacher of Intensive ( CO and VA, USA)
2014 Performática: Moving Awareness Garden Walk/Creating Performing Scores/Co-teaching Ritual-Dance-Theater: Exquisite Corpse (Puebla, México)
2012 Performática: Multidisciplinary Lab: taught by all core players in the UNEARTHING (Puebla, México)
2011 Performática: Improvisation, Creating Dance workshops, Site-Specific Lab, Environmental Lab (Puebla, México)
2011 Body of Knowledge, part of lab (residency with Karl Frost @ UC Davis, USA)
2009 Performática: site specific investigations workshops (Puebla, Mexico)
1998-2008 Creative Arts Director/Instructor, Living Education Center for Ecology and the Arts,
Taught high school level Studio Art, Creative Writing, Native American Issues, Body Image, Movement, Ancient Cultures, Ecology as well as led Council, Camping Trips, Community Service and Adopted the Schenks Branch of Meadow Creek. (VA, USA)
2000-2006 Teacher, Zen Monkey Project Summer Intensive, Taught college/pre-professional level improvisation, composition, performance skills. Co-Directed and Coordinated Summer Intensive in 2002 and 2006. (VA, USA)
2000 Art Instructor, Sawtooth Center for the Arts (NC, USA)
2019 the owl of Minerva arrives only at dusk (NC and VA, USA), Director/Co-Creator/Producer/Project Manager
2015-2017 Secondary Succession (Olympic Peninsula) Director/Co-Creator/Costumer/Producer. (Screened in México and VA, NC, CO, CA USA), (with CBC)
2010 Leaps and Bounds (The Film), (VA, USA) Project Manager
2019 Words Come Later (University of Texas, El Paso, USA), Co-Creator, (with CBC)
2018 Presentation of Cómo subir una montaña (Chiapas, México), Artist/Co-Director, (with CBC)
2018 Ghosts in Reverse (VA, USA) Co-Director/Co-Producer/Technical Director/Stage Manager/Performer/Artist
2018 Presentation of Hechas de Historias (Veracruz, México) Performer, (with CBC)
2018 Presentation of Voces que Ven (Puebla, México) Co-Creator/Tech, (with CBC)
2018 Performatica (Puebla, México) Co-Creator/Director, (with CBC)
2017 Pip and Twig (VA, USA) Painted/Co-Build Set
2017 On-Site/In-Sight Dance Festival (NC, USA) Performer
2016 Pip and Twig (Fringe Festival-Edinburgh, Scotland) Co-Design and Build Set/Lighting/Technical Director
2016 Pip and Twig (VA, USA) Co-Design Build Set/Lighting/Technical Director
2016 Chrysalis (VA, USA) Co-Creator/Performer/Producer
2016 On-Site/In-Sight Dance Festival (NC, USA) Performer, (with CBC)
2016 Bitacora Performativa (Performática,UDLAP, México) Co-Creator/Director, (with CBC)
2016 Permeabilidad Espontánea (Puebla, México) Director/Producer, (with CBC)
2015 Alloy (Boulder/Colorado Springs, CO, USA) Co-Creator/Performer/Producer, (with CBC)
2014 Animal (Performática, Puebla, México) Assistant Director/Performer/Costumer
2013 Animal (GA, USA) Assistant Director/Performer/Costumer
2012 Madwoman Project (VA, USA) Guest Artist Designer of Sets/Costume/Props/Lights/Crew
2012 The UNEARTHING, an international exchange, site-specific installation dance theater performance and community educational event (Premier in Charlottesville,VA USA/International Exchange in Puebla, México) Artistic Director/Producer/Teacher
2011 Body of Knowledge (CA, USA) Performer/Teacher
2011 Out of Thin Air (Puebla, Mexico) Director
2010 Leaps and Bounds (Premier USA tour) Technical Director/Lighting designer/Crew
2010 Invisible Spines (Premier at the Grand Opening of Dog Town Dance Theater, Richmond, VA, USA) Director/Set and Costume Designer
2009 Zen Monkey Project hour @ Performática (Puebla, México), Co-Director/Performer (ZMP)
2009 The Life Blood Of the Black Lamb (Puebla, México) Director/Set/Props/Costume Designer
2009 Viva la dif LIVEarts dance festival (VA, USA), Co-Director/performer, (ZMP)
2008/2009/2010 Ofrenda de Movento (Puebla, México) Co-director (2008) and Performer/Installation Artist (2008/2009/2010)
2008 Vinculus (Performática, UDLAP, México) Creator/Director/Site Specific Installation Artist/Teacher
2007 Close Quarters, facilitated by Guest director Karl Frost (VA, USA) Performer
2007 Columbus/Myth and the American Dream Revisited, Organized Nationally Acclaimed writers and speakers for a weekend of community educational events.(VA, USA) Co-creator/Producer
2006 A Charlottesville Wunderkammer (VA, USA) Creator/Artistic & Technical Director/Performer (ZMP)
2005 The Palimpsest (VA, USA) Set Designer/Performer (ZMP)
2004 Three of Swords (VA, USA) Creator/Producer/Director/Set,Lighting and Costume Designer. (ZMP)
2002 The Living Education Center for Ecology and the Arts Dance Benefit (VA, USA) Co-Director/Performer
2001 Charlottesville Festival of Contemporary Dance and Improvisation in Performance (VA, USA) Artistic Director/Producer/Performer (ZMP)
2001 To Once Apon…(VA, USA) Performer/Tech (ZMP)
2000 Charlottesville Festival of Contemporary Dance and Improvisation in Performance (VA, USA) Performer (ZMP)
1998 Locust (VA, USA) Producer/Stage Manager (ZMP)
1997 This Body This Earth (VA, USA) Performer (ZMP)
1997 Salt (VA, USA) Performer (ZMP)
Zap’s artistic statement:
To dedicate my life to creating the ecology of compassion for all living things through the arts, education and activism.
As a working artist, educator, performer whose investigations are animated by passionate beliefs and visions that flower out of my fierce love of the natural world; I have dedicated my actions to the following guidelines, in whatever work I pursue:
● to support my explorations with rigor, discipline, integrity and experimentation.
● to work collaboratively with peers on all elements of a work.
● to strive to utilize all aspects of the work with the most efficiency, giving attention to reusing/reducing use of resources, respecting the community/ecosystem we are based in, and each other- while simultaneously passionately pursuing the artistic vision of the project.
● to find a sustainable way to work that cares for our visions and ideals, our bodies, minds, emotional life, families, friends, and basic life sustaining needs; while living in right relationship with our planet.
● to create an empowering community within each project, networking with surrounding and international communities.
● to encourage emerging artists of all genres; as well as offering classes/workshops wherever I go.
● to engage in a creative process that helps all involved gain a greater insight into themselves, how they connect with others and the world they are part of.
● to search for meaningful stories, subjects, curiosities to make work about; especially: the symbolic, the literal,the abstract, the activist voice, the ridiculous and just pure entertainment.
● to be in the moment as much as possible, while balancing all of these goals with living a fulfilling compassionate life.
● to respond to the specific site we are in, really using: whatever is at hand.