Dancers’ Workshop presents its resident professional modern dance company, Contemporary Dance Wyoming, in Up Close, a dance performance exploring the themes of Earth, Fire, Air, and Water. In collaboration with local Jackson Hole visual artists and Art Association of Jackson Hole featured artist Michele Oka Doner, each visual artist was asked to create a costume or stage set for the dancers to work with or wear in a dance piece. Each artist has taken the theme of the elements and interpreted it in a different way, creating challenges and posing interesting questions to the dancers – a true exploration of the elements that surround us.
The title of the evening, Up Close, refers to the arrangement of the performance space – the audience will be seated on the stage rather than in the usual theater seats so that viewers can see the dancers and the visual artists’ creations from a close vantage point.
Up Close: Contemporary Dance Wyoming
Friday, June 15 & Saturday, June 16
Center Theater, Center for the Arts
6PM & 8PM
Free Gallery Talk featuring the work of Michele Oka Doner, 7:30PM
$20 all seats
Tickets: 307-733-4900 or www.dwjh.org
Presented by Dancers’ Workshop in collaboration with Art Association of Jackson Hole
Contemporary Dance Wyoming
CDW Artistic Director, Babs Case
Hole Dance Films
Art Association of Jackson Hole featured artist, Michele Oka Doner
About the project
This performance was initially conceived by Contemporary Dance Wyoming’s Artistic Director, Babs Case, as an opportunity for both the dancers’ choreography and the work of the visual artists to be pushed in new directions through collaboration. Using the theme of Earth, Fire, Air, and Water, each visual artist was asked to create a costume or stage set for the dancers to work with or wear in a dance piece. Each visual artist has taken the theme of the elements and interpreted it in a different way. Suzanne Morlock has decided to investigate traditional definitions of the elements by creating a large environment made of plastic, projected images, and sound, while Jenny Dowd has settled on representing one element, air, by creating costumes for fantastic celestial characters. Others have focused on creating a challenge for the dancers- Calla Grimes’ costumes connect two dancers in one garment through an expandable sleeve, necessitating extreme movement invention! John Frechette has distilled each element down to a colored glass object for the dancers to manipulate. And Alissa Davies and Meleta Buckstaff have both used the theme of elements to continue to explore materials and concepts familiar in their other work, Alissa by creating pod-like costumes that investigate parts vs. whole, and Meleta by casting body forms in order to create a stage set. All of the pieces combine the physicality and artistry that audiences have come to expect in a Contemporary Dance Wyoming performance with an expanded focus on the visual elements of the production.
Michele Oka Doner’s participation in this project is in collaboration with the Art Association, who will be hosting a show of the artist’s work (also exploring the theme of Earth, Fire, Air, Water) June 1 through July 27. In her case, the drawings and sculptures that will be used in the dance performance already existed, creating a different type of challenge for the choreography to be informed by and relate to the visual work. In addition to the pieces performed in Up Close, Contemporary Dance Wyoming dancers will also perform installation-style choreography with Oka Doner’s work at the opening of her show in the Artspace Gallery June 1, as well as at other points throughout the summer.