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The Power of Three

Dance Preview

Jun. 18, 2008
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In a chamber experience of dance mixed with visuals, three different media will be featured in UW-Milwaukee’s Dance Triptych,opening this week at Kenilworth Square East Gallery.

  A trio of UWM faculty collaborated on the project, bringing diverse talents and inspirations to the performance. The paintings and visuals of Leslie Vansen explore the meaning of human existence and the indelible footprint it leaves on the planet. Patterned and repetitive movements heighten the sensory experience of attendees as they pass through the labyrinth in which the works are displayed and performed. Christopher Burns, a specialist in the composition of electronic-based chamber music, provides an ethereal, densely rhythmic aural atmosphere. Choreographer Luc Vanier’s vision will be performed in this intimate space as well.

  The dance concert, infused with digital artwork and an original musical composition, becomes an intense spectacle of three complimentary facets. According to Vanier, an assistant professor in the Dance Department at the UWMPeckSchool of the Arts, media technology has and will continue to revolutionize the arts. He says that changes in digital media over the last decade must be embraced by the dance community as a way for the art form to keep from becoming obsolete in the near future.

  The decision to showcase more than one form of media in the piece wasn’t a difficult one, but the attempt to mold the three formats together had its obstacles.

  “For us, the problem is what gets transformed into a work, different forms translating in a cohesive manner,” Vanier says. “It is interesting because when there is no friction and everything merges seamlessly, often there is nothing there to learn. In the end that is what we’re looking for, this kind of danger, so that something will come about from the pressure of the collaboration and will form a diamond, so to speak.”

  It was Vanier’s intention to stray from a traditional dance performance and provide an experience that isn’t seen elsewhere in the city.

  “The presentation that emerges is partly like a video game: The animation is vibrant and colorful and active,” Vanier explains. “The movement is direct and close to you. You feel and understand the effort put into the internal logic of the movement and the proximity increases the appreciation of it all.

  “This is the best way to see dance,” he continues. “You’re not sitting 300 feet away watching somebody doing obscure vocabulary. You’re sitting right there seeing people interact with each other in a very physical way.”

  UWM’s Dance Department presents Triptych on June 20-21 and 27-28 at Kenilworth Square East, 1925 E. Kenilworth Place. Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, June 20; 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, June 21; 7 and 9 p.m. Friday, June 27; and 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday, June 28.


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