Sharing the Love
Update #9 for ArtPlace America
During the past month Wonderbound was preparing for its production of Love and along the way we had the opportunity to share our art and work with the community in a variety of ways.
Denver Shared Spaces Learning Community Gathering -On the evening of January 15, we hosted our friends from Denver Shared Spaces for their quarterly Learning Community Gathering at Junction Box. Attendees arrived to see the end of Wonderbound's rehearsal day and then I had the opportunity to talk about the work Wonderbound is doing in the community and our shared space at Junction Box that houses the unique combination of an urban infill developer (Urban Market Partners), a community organizing group (Community Coordinating District No. 1) and a contemporary dance company (Wonderbound).
Denver Shared Spaces is "a nationally recognized, public-private partnership that promotes best-practices in the creation and operation of shared space centers in Denver."
Art Students League of Denver Art Opening - For four weeks in September and October, Art Students League of Denver held a course titled "The Figure in Motion" during Wonderbound's rehearsals at Junction Box. On January 17, the coarse's students and their instructor Mitch Castor held an art opening in the space to share their work.
Project Generations at Covenant Village and The Argyle - Company Artists Candice Bergeron and Colby Foss headed to Covenant Village retirement community on January 22 while Company Artists Julie King and Damien Patterson went to The Argyle assisted living on January 23. They joined Wonderbound Dance/Movement Therapist Heather Sutton to dance with residents and continue an ongoing dialog with our elders.
Teaser Episode #3: Love - On January 28 we had a packed house at Junction Box for our third Teaser Episode where we shared excerpts from the three ballets on the upcoming program while attendees enjoyed eats by our friends down the street at The Lobby.
We started the evening with a reading by Lighthouse Writers Workshop's Michael J. Henry of his title poem from "When the Power Goes Out." This ballet holds a special place in my heart, being the first collaborative project I engaged in after moving to Denver. Originally created in 2009 to recordings of Frédéric Chopin piano works and including six original poems by Mike, it is receiving its first treatment of live music played by Heidi Leathwood.
We continued by sharing "Already, Nostalgia," the third scene from the ballet which is danced by Company Artists Amanda Copple and Colby Foss to Chopin's "Op. 9, Nocturne in E-Flat Major."
We went on to share the first movement of Company Artist Sarah Tallman's world premiere ballet "Intimate Letters" which was created to Leoš Janáček's 1928 score. Played live by Confluence String Quartet, this work has turned out to be a powerful psychological study that captures the complexity and anxiety of the score.
Read a Q&A between Erica Prather and Sarah Tallman about "Intimate Letters" here: 303 Magazine -- "Love" for Sarah Tallman.
The dancing portion of the evening closed with the first two movements of my ballet "For the Love of Pete" which premiered in 2010 and is an irreverent interpretation of selections from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. With this production it is receiving its first performance to live music with new arrangements for string quartet and piano by Confluence String Quartet's own Richard von Foerester.
We wrapped up the evening with a Q&A with the Wonderbound company and our collaborating musicians as well as a sneak peak at some of the costumes for the production.
Read a story about Teaser Episode #3 by W. Celeste Davis Stragand here: Presenting Denver -- bit by the LOVE bug.
Sharing Dance on the Street - One day, a couple of months ago, a photographer from Spain named Lena Prieto walked through the door at Junction Box. She was exploring the neighborhood, getting to know the diverse inhabitants that populate the area, and was intrigued by the way Wonderbound engages the community. She set about organizing a photo shoot with the some of our dancers and members of the homeless community that expresses the nature of this unique relationship.
On January 29, everyone gathered outside St. Francis Center, which is next door to Junction Box, for the shoot. Colorado Public Radio's Corey H. Jones came along to document the happening. Lena captured a stunning collection of images that remind us how much we all have in common, regardless of our circumstances.
Watch an audio slideshow of the photos here: Colorado Public Radio -- Video: A photographer chronicles dancers and homeless people.
And, read the story by Corey H. Jones here: Colorado Public Radio -- Q&A: A photographer chronicles dancers and homeless people.
Trey McIntyre Project at the Newman Center - On January 31, Trey McIntyre Project made its first appearance in Denver performing at the University of Denver's Newman Center. As founding members of TMP, my wife and Wonderbound Producing Director Dawn Fay and I had the pleasure of doing the "Behind the Curtain" discussion before the show. We enjoyed reflecting on those early years of TMP and talking about the creative process. After the performance, the dancers of TMP and Wonderbound all came together to enjoy each other's company over food and drink.
Love - Wonderbound moved into the theatre for "Love" with Confluence String Quartet and Pianist Heidi Leathwood on February 11 and began bringing all of the production elements together.
During the following two mornings Wonderbound presented in-theatre community education performances for students from Pinnacle Charter School, The Studio School and Pleasant View Elementary. It is always a pleasure to share our love of dance with students who may otherwise not have the opportunity to experience live performance.
We opened "Love" on Valentine's Day for an enthusiastic audience and only felt pangs of regret that we would perform this show only three times during the run. It was a pleasure to see all of the artists revel in the exploration of love's beauty, heartache, joy and loss.
As an added bonus to the weekend, Photographer Eric Dallimore installed his beautiful exhibit, "If You Dream. If You Love. If You Wonder. One Year of Becoming Wonderbound." in the lobby of the theatre.
Read a review of "Love" by Jane Evelyn Werle here: Presenting Denver -- Wonderbound’s "Love" and the Examined Life.
Recent Wins Dawn and I were honored to be selected for 5280 Magazine's February feature "Dynamic Duos" which looks at "people who, through their unique partnerships—some romantic, some not—make Denver a more interesting, entertaining and welcoming place to live": 5280 Magazine -- Dynamic Duos: The Danseur and His Muse.
Wonderbound Company Artist (and Pilates Instructor) Meredith Strathmeyer had a story published on the Pilates Method Alliance website that gives a personal account of her journey through hip replacement surgery: PMA -- A Look at Serious Injury from the Inside and Out.
Lighthouse Writers Workshop launched their "Big Read" in association with the National Endowment for the Arts on January 24 with "Housekeeping" by Marilynne Robinson. Wonderbound was delighted to be a part of their kick-off party and we look forward to keeping up with all of the community activities they have planned from now through April.
As part of their yearlong exhibition series "She Crossed the Line," our neighbors at RedLine presented "Towing the Line" a panel discussion in collaboration with Art Students League of Denver. On February 13, seven women leaders came together to "share how they have managed careers in the male-dominated industries of art and business."
I think this book perfectly expresses the ideals of creative placemaking as a whole, and is well worth the small cost of owning it.