Extra! Extra! Extra!
By Shaun Brady
Philadelphia Inquirer (February 2023)
“Professional wrestling rose to new heights of popularity in the 1980s via the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection, which brought together the likes of Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper, with rock stars like Cyndi Lauper. That concept gets an avant-garde update, with the musical tag team of Pond and percussionist Tracy Lisk accompanying wrestlers Mik Phillips and Tori Breen. It should prove a thrilling spectacle for anyone who’s decried the WWE and its ilk as over-choreographed. The night’s bill will also feature Native American dancer Vaughnda Hilton with jazz-klezmer trombonist Dan Blacksberg and brass player Michnari Robinson; and the dubsmith duo of Ihba Baskette and Ryoko Ohara. (Feb. 17, Chi Movement Arts Center)”
Thinking Dance (November 2022)
“This use of space is exciting; an uncovering and unfolding of choreographies inside of (what I assume is) an improvisational score, grounds the often-buoyant soundscape. Moving through somber, dynamic, and spirited sonic environments, Mijkalena engages gestures that emerge through her movement: a forearm grazing her forehead and tracing down her neck until it turns into balance on one leg, grounding her standing leg a few feet below the floor. Until it turns into near-stillness, lying on the floor, only her ribcage and chest moving from the expansion of her lungs. Until it turns into movement that resembles the stretching of a rubber band: stretchy and with tense weightedness.
Until it turns into, describes much of this 30-minute premiere. It’s palpable, the way that each member of The Mijkalena Quartet listens to one another. As decisions are made within the score, the audience watches and listens to relationships unfold between sound, dance, gesture, and perception. Circulatory leading and following takes hold: Mijkalena finds herself in body percussion alongside the musicians, and they listen, Mijkalena listens, the musicians listen, and this way of listening breathes life into the room.”
Building community with Sonic Sunsets at the Discovery Center by Hanae Mason
Broad Street Review (December 2019)
“With Sonic Sunsets, Pond is hoping to create a new model not only for the making and sharing of music but also for building community. In this model, jazz itself is a metaphor for how we show up in the world with our unique talents and gifts, meet others where they are, and create something fresh and distinct together. Accordingly, each event date is headlined by a different jazz and improvisational act (to date all are POC). While Pond acknowledges that the kind of music can be somewhat intimidating or uncomfortable for some listeners, the point is for attendees to connect with each other and with the space through the shared experience, a theory of change rooted from public space thinkers like Jane Jacobs and Afro-futurist literature, both inspirations for the series.”