Movement on campus is growing

Elissa Harbert

Tonight in Stansbury Theater at 7:35 p.m., Wild Space Dance Company will present Field Work, a set of dances portraying farming and farm life. Wild Space, a Milwaukee-based dance company founded 16 years ago, has been bringing its innovative modern dance performances to Lawrence for five years.

To prepare for Field Work, the dancers visited farms and watched farmers going about their daily work in order to understand the farmers’ familiar but rarely studied movements.

Later this year, Wild Space will tour with a Smithsonian art exhibit of old photographs of farms. Interestingly, the exhibit will only visit towns with a population of under 4,000.

According to Deb Loewen, the founder and artistic director of Wild Space, they will be “dancing in barns and school gyms . . . in communities where they’ve never seen dance.”

In addition to enriching those who attend the performance, Wild Space‘s visit has a positive impact on the theater department. Loewen gave workshops for acting and directing classes, and, according to Timothy X. Troy, Lawrence theater professor, the new lighting plot on the stage provides an educational experience for tech students.

Tickets are available at the box office: adults $10, senior citizens and students $5, LU students/faculty/staff $2.

If this performance is inspiring to you, and if you are interested in becoming a dancer yourself, Mˆle and LU Swing Dancers are ways for students to become involved with dance. Both groups welcome interested students of all experience levels and proficiency. If you want to dance you are welcome to join either group, even if you’ve never danced a step in your life.

Mˆle is a student-run club, focusing on modern and theatrical dance. The group is made up of both experienced and beginning dancers, and most of the sessions are led by the more trained dancers, who teach dance techniques and movements and also choreograph routines.

Sophomore Devin Scheef explains, “The great thing about Mˆle is that we can experiment with new ideas and styles while still gaining technical skill from the more experienced dancers.”

Mˆle is a small group, with attendance ranging from about four to 15 people each session. Scheef adds that there are three men in the group this year, while last year he was the only one.

The group meets in the multipurpose room at the Buchanan-Kiewit Rec Center every Monday from 7-8:30 p.m. They will begin choreographing their May recital soon.

For a more traditional and less performance-oriented dance experience, the Lawrence University Swing Dancers, a five-year-old club begun in the Sage basement by Dane Tice and Suzanne Butts, graduates of the class of 2002, has become a popular way for students to learn how to swing dance and practice in an informal and uncompetitive setting.

This year, seniors Martha Nelson and Eric Seidel lead the club. At sessions, Nelson and Seidel generally teach a few new swing steps, and then turn on the music and let everyone dance and practice the new moves. Beginning dancers are completely welcome.

A sixth of the student body is on the swing mailing list, but of course not everyone shows up to every session. Usually there are 20-50 dancers, and many people only come for part of the time.

This week’s session will be from 10 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, right after the orchestra concert.

“Everyone needs a break from trivia,” jokes Nelson.

The Swing Dancers meet on an irregular schedule on weekend nights in Riverview Lounge.

If you would like to be added to the mailing list, e-mail Eric Seidel at Eric.C.Seidel@lawrence.edu.

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