Friday, October 5, 2012

From Duluth to Twin Cities, Minnesota's dancers have tales to tell

Minneapolis, Minnesota

A small, partial survey of Minnesota's dance events during October makes clear that the state takes a back seat to no one when upholding its position as pillar of culture and civilization. Here are some of the many productions available from north to south this month.
University of Minnesota Duluth • Oct. 6

A residency by the Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater at the University of Minnesota Duluth will culminate in a public performance at the Cesar Pelli-designed Weber Music Hall, 7:30pm, Saturday, Oct. 6. The Minneapolis-based company, which bills itself as "theater for the heart and mind," will display its modern dance range and sensibility in solo, duet, and group works drawn from its repertoire.

The SPDT program will include "Tales From the Book of Longing," conceived and directed by Stuart Pimsler and Suzanne Costello. Inspired by the poetry of Leonard Cohen, it received its premiere at the Guthrie Theater three years ago this month. Also on tap: "Islands," Pimsler's solo created in 1987 for the Contemporary Dance Theatre of Cincinnati, "The Men From the Boys," a duet from 1988, and "Word Game," a solo choreographed in 1968 by mentor Daniel Nagrin.

The Weber Music Hall is located at 1151 University Drive. Tickets, online, are $10 adults, $5 students, and free for UMD students. The Duluth News Tribune listed the performance as a "best bet" for the weekend in a preview article.

Another company from Minneapolis, Black Label Movement, has been conducting residency activities in Duluth since early September, working with Zeitgeist Arts and Stacie Luten's Dance Center. The company's evening-length "Wreck" will be performed in The Machine Shop of the Clyde Iron Works, 7:30pm, Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 9-10. 
"Wreck" • Clyde Iron Works, Duluth • Oct. 9-10 • Photo William Cameron

Choreographed by Carl Flink, a 2012 McKnight Artist Fellow, with original music by Mary Ellen Childs, "Wreck" was performed for the first time in January 2008 at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis. Flink, whose father was a crewman on a Great Lakes ore boat in the 1950s, has set the work "inside the last watertight compartment of a recently sunk ore boat resting on the bottom of Lake Superior." An ensemble of five musicians will perform with the dancers.

The Clyde Iron Works is located at 2920 West Michigan. Tickets are $10 adults, $5 students. Reserve them by sending an email to

The Catalyst Series at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis will present the work of three women whose choreography has been commissioned in the past by the Momentum Series of the Walker Art Center and Southern Theater: Maia Maiden, Ellena Schoop, and Cathy Wright. Inspired by the Maya Angelou poem "Phenomenal Woman," the program, "This Was Meant for Women's Bodies," will take the stage at 8pm, Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 11-14.
Cathy Wright • Intermedia Arts • Oct. 11-14 • Photo Crystal Liepa

Wright's work also has been performed at the Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bryant-Lake Bowl, Patrick's Cabaret, the Walker Art Center's Choreographer's Evening, and the Minnesota Fringe Festival. I saw it for the first time in 2009 at the Ritz Theater's Renovate Choreographer's Evening. 

Next week, Wright will unveil three new dances: "Catherine Binds Wite Angels," a performance art piece with angel wings, chardonnay, acrylic painting, and song; "Accepting Mother's Nature, part 1," displaying her gothic aesthetic in response to questions posed by Maiden's work about body as culture; and "Encompassed," a dance and film on media perpetuation of the female body, created and performed with Maiden.

Intermedia Arts is located at 2822 Lyndale Avenue South. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door; available online or by phone at 612.871.4444.

The Minnesota Dance Theatre will present the second weekend of its fall performances at The Cowles Center for Dance in Minneapolis, Friday through Sunday, Oct. 12-14. Based on a classic Grimm's fairy tale, the program, "The Enchantment: 12 Dancing Princesses," features choreography by Lise Houlton. Music by Leos Janácek and Tim Linker will be performed by a strings and piano quintet. The Cowles Center is located at 516 Hennepin Avenue. Tickets are $26-$30, $20 students; available online or by phone at 612.206.3600.

Ritz Theater • Oct. 18-28
The Ballet of the Dolls will present "The Peruvian Nightingale," a re-telling of a Hans Christian Andersen tale about learning the difference between real love and infatuation, Oct. 18-28, at the Ritz Theater. The Ritz is located at 345 - 13th Avenue NE in Minneapolis. Tickets available online or by phone at 612.436.1129.

In Duluth, the Minnesota Ballet will reprise its 2011 production of "Dracula," at 7pm, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 19-20, at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center. The work "follows the grand tradition of Bram Stoker's Gothic tale of compulsion, suspense, seduction, and love." 

"Dracula" • Duluth • Oct. 19-20 • Photo Jeff Frey and Associates
The DECC is located at 350 Harbor Drive. Tickets are $10-$42. In a "Blood Drive for Dracula," one can donate blood to the Memorial Blood Centers and receive a voucher for buy-one, get-one free tickets. Call the Minnesota Ballet for more information, 218.529.3742.

Works of Edgar Allan Poe will animate James Sewell Ballet's fall performances at The Cowles Center in Minneapolis, Oct. 26-Nov. 4. The fall program also will be presented at the University of Minnesota Morris, Oct. 19.

For other performance offerings, check out DanceMN, The O'Shaughnessy, Ordway, Walker Art Center, Northrop Dance Series, Southern Theater, Red Eye Theater, and The Lab Theater, among many others. 

Updated Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, 08:33am.

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