Before there was any music or choreography for “Chance Elements” there were only words – “right foot rotation”, for example – to which the four dancers involved in Amy’s piece Michele Allen responded with a spontaneous movement.
“It’s very Merce Cunningham – see what happens,” said Marco Carreon, member of the quartet who will perform the piece at the next “Dances on the Lakewalk”.
âWe each had our own definitions,â said Kristen Hylenski, a Duluth dancer with close ties to the program, of the process.
These individualized dance phrases were collected, edited and rearranged by the Californian choreographer who worked remotely with the quartet. The result, “Chance Elements”, premieres at the Dance Showcase which will feature 11 other works by regional artists and guests. âDances on the Lakewalkâ will take place July 9-10 at 7:00 p.m. at Gitchi-Ode ‘Akiing (formerly Lake Place Park).
“Elements of luck”
For a recent rehearsal, Carreon and a crew met at the performance venue – the grassy outdoor stage right next to the Lakewalk. They installed a small camera on a tripod, which served as the director’s eye for the course. An open laptop sat above a portable Block Rocket speaker, where Allen was able to transmit his notes – hand positions, preferred degree of turn, which shoulder to look over.
âThere’s a bit of drama in there, and I like it,â Allen replied to dancer Brianna Hall after a change in her movements.
Jurassic 5’s song “Lesson 6: The Lecture” combines the unadorned institutional vocals of old-school instructional videos with a 90s hip-hop rhythm. The playful piece of modern dance is reminiscent of superheroes, “Simon Says” and mod fashions.
And if you look closely, there are hints of humor. Look out for Patrick Timmons’ slow motion facial expressions.
Each of the dancers wears a single, bold color: Hall in a short-sleeved shirt and red pants combo, always, from last week, looking for matching shoes; Carreon in blue buttoned with pants of the same color and blue boat shoes; Timmons in green shorts, green shirt, and green shoes that looked like Aqua Socks; Hylenski in yellow – including assorted Nikes.
Doris Ressl, then a professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, started the Freshwater Dance Collective’s âDances on the Lakewalkâ in the mid-1990s, a large, multi-day event that featured works alongside live music.
It was a progressive project staged in the rose garden and on the beach – the first year she could remember playing on a staircase.
Even after Ressl left UMD for jobs on the east coast and then moved to California State University at Dominguez Hills, where she is currently the head of the department, she continued to return to Duluth. this summer and to organize this long series of concerts.
Every year, Ressl said, she sends emails to past attendees to gauge their interest and collect new contacts. Its reach is wide – drawing artists from Los Angeles, the Twin Cities and Duluth.
Dancer Brianna Hall chats with her director on Zoom ahead of the rehearsal for the Dances on the Lakewalk event at Gitche Ode ‘Akiing in Duluth on Thursday afternoon, July 1, 2021 (Jed Carlsonemail@example.com )
âIt’s not, like, this cumbersome process,â she said. “It’s like, ‘Are you interested? ” ‘Sure.’ Or ‘I should have asked you. Next year.’ It was never about being big and having a huge process. ”
The setting of the show is also casual: some members of the audience make the intentional choice to stop, others walk around and grab a place on the grass.
âIt looks like ‘Lakewalk’ is one of those events that brings people together who haven’t seen each other in a while,â Ressl said. âIt was great because it’s a social event. Yes, we make art, we bring people together. If they decide to chat while people are chatting, that’s okay. ”
For Hall, who studied dance at St. Olaf and became involved in the local music scene, âDances on the Lakewalkâ fills a gap in local arts and entertainment programming.
âThere aren’t a lot of dance concerts in Duluth,â she says. âI like that it’s free, accessible – and if you don’t like what’s going on, wait a few minutes. ”
Dancer Marco Carreon performs during rehearsal for Dances on the Lakewalk at Gitche Ode ‘Akiing in Duluth on Thursday afternoon, July 1, 2021 (Jed Carlsonfirstname.lastname@example.org)
There is a deliberately eclectic mix of choreography ranging from ballet and jazz to modern and tap dancing and, depending on the mood, dark to joyful with dancers who describe themselves as amateurs, professionals and beginners.
Alex Loch, a modern dancer with a background in gymnastics, performs “Deer Song” with Erin Sola – an excerpt from a piece he choreographed with the Twin Ports Choral Project on “Considering Matthew Shepard” by composer Craig Hella Johnson.
Hall choreographed âAll Blues,â which she will perform with Suzie Baer, ââJennifer Chladek and Jessie Olson.
Dancer Brianna Hall performs during rehearsal for Dances on the Lakewalk at Gitche Ode ‘Akiing in Duluth on Thursday afternoon, July 1, 2021 (Jed Carlsonemail@example.com)
Carreon, who is based in Long Beach, Calif., Makes a point of spending his summers in Duluth – both for “Dances on the Lakewalk” and, in some years, teaching concerts with other dance companies. He easily settled into this second home, where he enjoys hiking, some of the destinations he called touristy, and the development of Lincoln Park.
Carreon has a background in folk dance, but his first love was jazz. Another interest is zumba.
Dancers from Ignite Studio, where he trains, will be featured in his piece “We Are All”.
In response to the “why here” question, he faced Lake Superior and stretched out his arms.
âThis,â he said. “We don’t have a nature like this.”
Dancers, left to right, Kristen Hylenski, Brianna Hall, Patrick Timmons and Marco Carreon rehearse a number for the Dances on the Lakewalk event at Gitche Ode ‘Akiing in Duluth on Thursday afternoon July 1, 2021. (Jed Carlson / firstname.lastname@example.org)
The dancers, left to right, Marco Carreon, Brianna Hall, Kristen Hylenski and Patrick Timmons speak to their manager via Zoom before rehearsing a number for the Dances on the Lakewalk event at Gitche Ode ‘Akiing in Duluth on Thursday afternoon, July 1, 2021. (Jed Carlsonemail@example.com)
If you are going to
âDances on the Lakewalk,â 7:00 PM, July 9-10, Gitchi-Ode ‘Akiing, Second Avenue East and East Michigan Street, along the Lakewalk.