Dancers go public with works in progress
Winifred Haun & Dancers open a rehearsal of new dances to the public on Feb. 24.
Winter Open Rehearsal
Winifred Haun & Dancers, Intuit Dance, 237 Harrison Ave., Oak Park
3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24
$6 general admission includes free drinks and snacks
Tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/322616 or at the door
(773) 454-9843 or go to www.WinifredHaun.org
Audiences will get first look at three dances in development at Winter Open Rehearsal.
Winifred Haun & Dancers is presenting the Feb. 24 program showcasing the work of a trio of the Chicago area’s finest choreographers: Haun, Lizzie Leopold of the Leopold Group and Ayako Kato, director of Art Union Humanscape.
Haun jokingly declared that she scheduled the show, “mostly for selfish reasons. In 2009, I premiered my first full-length work, ‘Promise.’ I had worked on that dance over a period of about three years and different sections of that work had lots of eyes on it and it really helped inform the final project.
“I have this new dance that I’m working on,” Haun continued. “I can’t take three years on another project but I’m taking about a year. I’ve got some good chunks of it done and I really want to get it in front of audiences and see what people think of it.”
Haun said that the piece she will present “is truly a work in progress in that I’ve been developing movement — designs and images. It’s abstract at the moment and a theme is maybe slowly emerging.” Part of the work is being choreographed to a selection by jazz composer Jenny Scheinman. The piece for nine dancers is scheduled to premiere in September at a show inspired by the late choreographer Martha Graham.
But Haun has another unselfish reason for presenting Winter Open Rehearsal. “I know there are other artists that are in my same situation,” she said. “And I think it’s really beneficial for dancers to go through that editing process so I invited Lizzie and Ayako to join me. Their work is very different from each other’s but I really like both of their aesthetics and they’re both very intelligent people and they’re also very intelligent dance-makers. And they’re both very easy to work with. I thought we’d make a good trio.”
“We’re looking forward to a collaborative show that Winifred and I are putting on in September so this is a chance for us to try out that shared bill,” Leopold said.
Leopold, who founded her dance company in 2006, is developing a piece for three women. “Right now, I’m in the process of figuring out how a Graham vocabulary and my choreographic style merge,” she said. The choreographer is working with some Brahms piano selections but hasn’t definitely selected the music for the piece.
Leopold’s choreographing process starts with improvisation. “The dancers that I’m working with, I’ve been working with for a long time,” she noted. “I generate the movement and they are well-versed in my aesthetics so they know what I mean and can make informed suggestions.”
Kato wanted to participate in the Winter Open Rehearsal, “to inform more people about what I’m working on and to clarify what works and what is not working. I’d like to hear what people feel about this. Do they see the same thing I am trying to express or do they see a totally different thing?”
She jokingly added, “We need a deadline sometimes.”
Kato, whose Art Union Humanscape is a collaboration with a double bassist, is creating a solo piece which she will dance. She described it as “very simple but physical, physically expressive, metaphorical.”
The choreographer noted that she works in different ways when creating a dance piece. “I am interested in both composition and improvisation,” she said. Kato added that, “You don’t really decide. The piece has the answer about which path you take.”
Audience members will help determine that path for each choreographer. After the performance they will be encouraged to offer feedback.