Now in its fourth year, the Walker Art Center and Southern Theater’s
series offers a snapshot of Minnesota’s dance landscape, illuminating the skill and passion of the next generation’s most promising choreographers. Presented July 15-17 and July 22-24 at the Southern Theater and featuring two companies each evening, Momentum showcases a rich spectrum of styles and voices that solidify the Twin Cities’ reputation as a hotbed of fresh talent. The first weekend of performances features works by choreographers Jennifer Hart and Morgan Thorson on Friday–Saturday, July 15–16, 8 pm; Sunday, July 17, 7 pm. Colin Rusch and Risa Cohen perform Friday–Saturday, July 22–23, 8 pm; Sunday, July 24, 7 pm. Each company presents new work, commissioned by the Walker and the Southern with support from the Jerome Foundation. The Southern Theater is located at 1420 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis.
Detailed program information follows.
Momentum: New Dance Works
Jennifer Hart/Morgan Thorson
Friday–Saturday, July 15–16, 8 pm; Sunday, July 17, 7 pm
Jennifer Hart: The Station and Song
In an increasingly fragmented culture, human interactions are often lost to the anonymous ease of modern technology and the widening of perceived differences between personal philosophies. Hart ’s modern ballet uses the American train station—a symbol of railways that once brought the country together physically and psychically—to expand our notions of time and space and recapture the optimism of a country moving toward a shared, albeit unknowable future.
Jennifer Hart trained at Minnesota Dance Theatre, San Francisco Ballet and on scholarship with Pacific Northwest Ballet. She has danced professionally with Ballet of the Dolls, L.A. Chamber Ballet, numerous independent choreographers, and is currently a member of Minnesota Dance Theatre. As a choreographer, Ms. Hart has been commissioned by Minnesota Dance Theatre for the piece Unbound and a new work, Perilous Night, for the Spring 2004 series; by Ballet Arts Minnesota’s Springboard for their Spring 2005 show titled 4 Sections (in any order; and had her New York choreographic debut with Ballet Builders in April 2005 with the duet Aria. She has also shown work in choreographer’s evenings and self-produced an evening of her own work called Hiding the Universe.
Morgan Thorson: Faker
Who is more dead and alive than Elvis Presley? What sustains his memory postmortem? Thorson’s exploration of impersonation, obsession, and ritualistic behaviors throws open the doors to our culture ’s backward fixation with both the mystique of celebrity and the desire for authenticity. Twin narratives —a King impersonator with identity issues and an obsessive-compulsive searching for a reprieve—blur the lines between behavior and dance, body and image. Faker is a disjointed world of posture, attitude, story, and song.
Originally from Connecticut and New York, Morgan Thorson has created dance and performance in Minneapolis as an independent artist since 1994. Her passion for dance-making has manifested itself in many forms, including outdoor performance, site specific choreography, and ensemble and solo improvisation. Her works have been presented at a variety of venues, such as the Walker Art Center and The Southern Theater in Minneapolis, The Kitchen in New York City, Velocity in Seattle, London Improvisation in Performance at Jackson Lane, and most recently in Seoul, South Korea. She has been commissioned by notable institutions such as Gustavus Adolphus and Carleton College, as well as the nationally acclaimed Split Britches Theater Company. Thorson has received many awards for her work including fellowships from the Bush (2000), McKnight (2002), and Jerome Foundations (2002). In 2004, she received the Bessie Schoneberg Memorial Endowed Fellowship through the Djerassi Artist Residency Program. In addition to making her own work, Thorson has performed in the works of several local and national choreographers such as Shawn McConneloug and Her Orchestra, Lou Fancher, BB Miller, Jennifer Monson, and Karen Sherman. She teaches dance at the University of Minnesota.
Colin Rusch/Risa Cohen
Friday–Saturday, July 22–23, 8 pm; Sunday, July 24, 7 pm
Colin Rusch: Dearest 3535
Massive and miniature, near and far, linear and bent: these are just some of the extremes pondered in Rusch ’s Dearest 3535, developed via an extended improvisation process based on line drawings. His synthesized recollections —residual memories of long hours spent silent in church pews and alternately running in long, straight lines, as kids are apt to do—collide with such everyday actions and objects as showering, lip balm, fog, and fire engines.
Colin Rusch is a Minneapolis dance artist. He has self-produced a dozen original performances and presented over 60 movement-based, improvisational works in the US, UK, and Russia since 1998. He regularly contributes to MPLS.ST. PAUL magazine as a dance columnist, serves as the Community Manager for mnartists.org, and is Secretary, Chair of Communications for the National Association of Artists’ Organizations (NAAO).
Risa Cohen: Two Worlds
Aerial dance takes many forms, employs varied apparatuses, and requires not only incredible strength and dexterity, but a lyrical sense of freedom and adventure. Cohen ’s Two Worlds utilizes six distinct elements —silks, steel hoop, rope and harness, Spanish web, triple trapeze, and ground dance — in a work that weds physical extremes with metaphorical meaning. Fabric becomes a door, a hoop becomes a barrier, and a harness turns into the physical manifestation of an interpersonal power struggle in this graceful meditation on movement.
Risa Cohen was born in Calcutta, India, and grew up in Germany, the U.S., and the U.K. where she studied dance at the Contemporary Dance School of London. After graduating from university, she moved to New York City where she spent five years performing with The Margolis Brown Company. Cohen has received several awards for her choreography, including the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council Grant and the Minnesota State Arts Board’s Artist Initiative Grant. Her work has been presented at Walker Art Center’s Choreographers’ Evening and at Red Eye’s Isolated Acts Series.
Tickets to Momentum: New Dance Works are $16 ($13 Walker/Southern members) and are available by contacting the Walker Art Center box office at 612.375.7600 or walkerart.org/tickets.