Tag: Rebecca Salzer

Multimedia “Bird Lady” Performance Examines Relationship Between Art and Artist

Inspired by the life and photographs of Chicago nanny Vivian Maier, who used her off-duty time to wander the streets taking snapshots of unsuspecting strangers, the Rebecca Salzer Dance Theatre presents the world premiere of “Bird Lady” April 3 and 4 at 8 p.m. in Lawrence University’s Warch Campus Center. Both performances are free and open to the public.

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Rebecca Salzer pays tribute to amateur photographer Vivian Maier in the multimedia performance “Bird Lady” April 3-4 in the Warch Campus Center.

Maier’s immense collection of photos, hidden in storage lockers and first discovered after her death in 2009, has brought Maier posthumous fame. Through dance, theatre, music and video, Salzer’s “Bird Lady” explores questions Maier’s work has raised about the private self in an increasingly public world. Can one’s art be as private as one’s self? Can something be called “art” that is created for one’s own satisfaction and not meant to be shared?

“Each of the performers chose the portrait of a woman who is looking back and acknowledging Maier,” said Salzer, visiting professor of dance at Lawrence. “We wrote and choreographed in the voices we imagined the subjects to have. We crafted material based on our own lives as contemporary women artists and because we felt a personal affinity with the women in the portraits, our own stories and the imagined stories of the portrait subjects began to blend. The characters, movement, sound and text in ‘Bird Lady’ are our multilayered personal responses to Maier’s images.”

Joining Salzer on “Bird Lady” are dance artists Liz Burritt and Kristina Fluty, opera director Kristine McIntyre, composer AlexTemple, videographer Anna Ryndova and designers Alina Bokovikova and Aaron Sherkow.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence Dance Series Features World Premiere by Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak

Chicago-based choreographer Molly Shanahan and her Mad Shak Dance Company presents the world premiere of “The Delicate Hour” Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence University Warch Campus Center.  The performance, the third in Lawrence’s 2011-13 dance series, is free and open to the public.

The work is the latest iteration of the company’s multi-year project “Stamina of Curiosity” and a “movement sequel” to the critically-acclaimed “Sharks Before Drowning.” The work’s title, “The Delicate Hour,” was inspired by Shanahan’s attempt to describe the haunting hour of sunset she experienced during a 2010 artist residency in Pennsylvania.

In addition to the performance, Shanahan and Mad Shak company members Kristina Fluty, Benjamin Law and Jessie Marasa, will spend the week (Jan. 14-18) working with Lawrence students.

“I can’t wait to have Molly and the rest of the MadShak Dance Company in residence at Lawrence and to share their performance of ‘The Delicate Hour’ with the Lawrence and Appleton communities,” said Rebecca Salzer, visiting professor of dance. “The members of this company are highly respected teachers and insightful, intelligent dance-makers. They bring a depth of knowledge and craft that will undoubtedly wow both students and audiences.”

A native of Canada and a member of the dance faculty at Northwestern University, Shanahan founded Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak in 1994. She was named a 2007 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist for the creation of My Name is a Blackbird,” for which she was awarded a 2008 Choreographic Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council.  In 2010, Shanahan received the Meier Achievement Award from the Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier Charitable Foundation for the Arts.  Her work has been performed at venues throughout North America.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

Community Invited to “Louis XIV’s Versailles” for an Evening of Baroque Dance

The Lawrence Baroque Ensemble hosts “An Evening of Baroque Dance: Louis XIV Masque Ball” Friday, May 18 in the Warch Campus Center.

Members of the Lawrence and Fox Valley communities are invited to participate as dancers or as spectators in an “interactive performance” designed to transport everyone back to the splendor of King Louis XIV’s Versailles. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. with hor d’oeuvres followed by a formal masque ball at 7 p.m.

Lawrence President Jill Beck and Visiting Professor of Dance Rebecca Salzer will provide instruction in two large-group French Baroque dances. No dance or music experience is necessary to participate. Etiquette tips on how to show proper reverence in the presence of a king also will also offered.

The evening will include a performance of a choreographed minuet and Lawrence music historian Sara Ceballos will provide historical context throughout the evening on the power of music at Louis’ court and the empowering effect of concealing one’s identity at a masquerade.

The Lawrence Baroque Ensemble, along with members of the Lawrence trumpet and oboe studios, will provide music throughout the evening, creating an authentic grand ball atmosphere. Complimentary masks will be provided.

The evening will culminate with the audience’s performance of the dances taught by Beck and Salzer.

Space is limited and reservations are requested online. Complete and submit the RSVP form. (Clicking “attend” will not register you.) Formal attire is requested and low-heeled shoes are recommended.

The Lawrence Baroque Ensemble was founded in 2010 by four students as part of the economics course “Entrepreneurship in the Arts & Society.” Its goal is to study, rehearse and perform baroque music that enriches students’ liberal arts experience, inspires passion for period-instrument performance, preserves tradition and celebrates individual creativity. Lawrence Baroque connects audiences to history through unique concert experiences.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.

Baroque Opera “The Fairy Queen” Gets “Hippie” Update in Lawrence University Production

Baroque composer Henry Purcell’s opera “The Fairy Queen” receives a modern adaptation in Lawrence University’s production of the fantastical tale of romance and magic. The opera will be performed March 1-3 at 8 p.m. and March 4 at 3 p.m. in Stansbury Theatre of the Music-Drama Center.

Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and students, are available through the Lawrence University Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Originally written as a “masque” — light entertainment featuring lavish costumes and scenery but nearly devoid of narrative — the opera was inspired by Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  The story follows four young lovers’ escape to an enchanted forest.

The updated adaptation, written by Professor of Theatre Arts Timothy X. Troy ’85, who also serves as the production’s director, replaces the anonymously written libretto with Shakespeare’s own words.

“I restored the actors’ text to the First Folio version before shaping a narrative that closely followed the story of the young lovers who are tricked in the forest by Puck, the most famous of all fairies,” said Troy.

His adaptation was inspired by the psychedelic cover art of fairies on an LP of English composer Benjamin Britten’s 1973 recording of “The Fairy Queen.” It transports the action to a hippie commune in the woods outside Athens, Ga., immediately after a tornado. The new and modern setting offered creative opportunities for the production team.

Costume designer Karin Kopischke ’80 playfully explores the eclectic fashions of hippie culture of the commune-dwelling fairies against the academic preppy and jockish culture of the quartet of young lovers and their pursuit of true love.

“Karin’s costumes are inspiring, lively and delightful,” said Troy. “She found ways to model the repurposing impulse of the period to create a delightful sense of surprise and individuality to each of the 60 costumes you see on stage.”

Rebecca Salzer, Lawrence Fellow in Dance who served as choreographer for the production, worked closely with a corps of six dancers to blend Purcell’s set dance pieces with popular dance forms from the 1960’s and early 1970’s.

“To support Tim’s melding of times and places in this production — Baroque music, Elizabethan theatre and a 1970’s American setting — the choreography also had to be a mix of styles,” said Salzer. “If you look closely, you’ll see movement inspired by 60’s mods, 70’s funk and even the occasional minuet.”

Because Purcell’s “The Fairy Queen” is considered a “semi-opera” — an amalgam of scenes from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and musical interludes — it presented special challenges and opportunities for Bonnie Koestner, associate professor of music, who served as the production’s vocal coach.

“The masque portions (musical interludes) reflect the mood and general spirit of the spoken scenes, but are not directly tied to a plot line,” said Koestner. “It’s somewhat like the difference between a musical revue with its diverse collection of numbers and a Broadway show like ‘Carousel,’ in which the music really does play a part in character development. Both Shakespeare and Purcell have given us works of genius and if the audience doesn’t worry about the lack of a single coherent plot, I think that they will find it very entertaining.”

Featuring some of the most famous music of the Baroque period with virtuosic arias and complex ensembles and choruses, “The Fairy Queen” offers its audience a stunning variety of vocal talent alongside innovative choreography and compelling acting.

“It’s a delight to integrate the talents of our strongest actors with those of our accomplished singers,” said Troy.

About Lawrence University

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.