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New Wild Space dance show expands fine arts bubble

Cory Robertson

This Friday night, watch the many layers of love unfold before your eyes as Wild Space Dance Company presents “Various States of Undress,” their annual performance on the Lawrence campus.
Inspired by Diane Schoemperlen’s “How to Write a Serious Novel About Love,” the show’s title piece explores the relationship of an author to his characters and their relationship to one another.
Through the course of the dance, the author, played by Scott Howland, finds out that he cannot fully control the affair he has created. Randy Talley and Laura Murphy portray John and Mary, the author’s romantic pair, whose nuanced interactions strive to broaden audience perceptions of love and relationships.
“The themes of the show embody a focus on the interplay of text and dance, revealing various states of courtship, love, romance and various states of undress,” said Artistic Director Debra Loewen, Lawrence’s artist in residence.
Loewen’s piece, “One Time at Lunch,” will also be included in the show, as will works by company members Monica Rodero, Dan Schuchart and Katie Sopoci.
Wild Space’s method of expression is characteristically innovative.
“The rehearsal process involves active participation, with the dancers as collaborators in the creation of dance moves and phrases,” said Loewen.
As artistic director, Loewen is responsible for the company’s final product, but she allows the shows to evolve within the framework she sets forward.
A number of Loewen’s collaborators teach movement classes in the Lawrence Department of Theatre Arts, which has held a partnership with Wild Space for as long as movement classes have been offered here.
In fact, Loewen was an essential source of input when Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Timothy Troy designed the classes.
Amidst a plethora of performances that are strictly musical or theatrical, dance provides a fresh vision to the artistically minded Lawrentian, and Loewen’s unique take on the art form has been instrumental in the development of dance at Lawrence.
As well as conducting workshops in all of Lawrence’s performance classes, Loewen has served as choreographer for both “The Winter’s Tale” and “Hansel and Gretel.” “We have integrated her perspectives into our curriculum,” said Troy.
Troy sees Wild Space’s annual on-campus performance as an extension of Lawrence’s educational vision.
“As a community, we showcase artistic excellence through theater and music performances, exhibitions, and the Artist Series concerts in the chapel,” he said.
“The inclusion of Wild Space Dance reminds us that the Department of Theatre Arts considers dance part of that exploration of our commitment to excellence in the fine arts.”
“Various States of Undress” offers a rare chance to witness firsthand the vision of Lawrence’s chosen mastermind of dance. In all likelihood, Loewen and her dance company will continue to influence the Lawrence community. Those interested in our institution’s artistic future should take note.
The show begins at 8 p.m. in Stansbury Theatre, with tickets at $5 for students and seniors and $10 for adults. Members of the Lawrence community get a free pass.