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Dance Theatre Northwest presents ‘Illuminations’

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Performance incorporates music and dance in response to exhibitions and collections of glass art at the Tacoma Glass Museum.

For more than a decade, Dance Theatre Northwest has been presenting lecture demonstrations incorporating music and dance in response to exhibitions and collections of glass art at the Tacoma Museum of Glass. “Illumination” is an original series of “art inspired” dances created by DTNW’s Artistic Director Melanie KirkStauffer. And, it is coming up on Saturday, March 11, 1 p.m.
One of the themes shaping the performance is the relationships between sea life and the world under the sea. Originating from the Museum’s “Into The Deep” exhibit are “The Reef,” “Jewels of the Sea” and “Sea Anemones.” Australian born artist James Minson created the correlating glass pieces, “The Reef,” in 2007, and “Anemones,” in 2005. Featuring Katie Neumann, Philandra Eargle, and Oceana Thunder, the choreographies range from Debussy and ballet to contemporary Miami jazz style dance and music. The other ballet “Jewels of the Sea,” features DTNW’s Junior dance ensemble with Oceana Thunder, Philandra Eargle and Madeline Ewer. For this ballet, KirkStauffer has chosen the complexity of Bach’s Violin Concerto #2 to express her observations and responses to “Luscious Symbiosis” by Marsh Blaker-DeSomma (American Born, 1951).
The expressive part has always come easily to Kirk Stauffer who loves this type of commission. “Being surrounded by beautiful things which includes art not only enriches daily life but continuously inspires me to create fun and fanciful dance choreography. Most recently, I have been exploring the rippling effect of creativity, its powerful effect on the universe and how it translates into my life’s work,” said Kirk Stauffer. “It’s amazing to look back on my collection of pieces inspired by other artists. In fact, since music adds to the exhilaration of creating and helps to give clarity to the shape of my dance pieces, you could say that all of my designs are art inspired.” However, the drive to explore the work of other artists “is constantly being fed by the exhilarating high I get from the expe-
rience of invention. Time almost stops when working with the dancers to refine the ideas into movement and the development of each piece provides inestimable pleasure.”
Typical of most choreographers, KirkStauffer has specific visions for the costumes and has a hand in costuming as well as every other aspect of the show. June Davies, Jan Sandger and Katy Levesque have also done a lot of the work with new costume construction. Glamorous costuming is always a part of DTNW’s shows.
Every piece being performed this Saturday is brand new except “Habanera.” An audience favorite but with a slightly newer cast, the ballet is inspired by the work of Dominick Labino, an internationally known scientist, inventor, glass artist and master glass craftsman. Labino’s art works in glass are in the permanent collections of more than 100 museums throughout the world. In response, DTNW trumpets a short, many layered contemporary ballet.
Also on the line-up are three succinct pieces inspired by the “Art Deco” collection recently provided to the Museum by David Huchthausen. Two of the dances are jazzy while the other has a Latin flair. Music by George Gershwin and an unknown Latin classical composer complement the movement and the associated art. Both company members and guests perform in the pieces.
Saturday, March 11 at 1 p.m. is the only performance. It will take place at Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock St. in Tacoma Free with Museum Admission, each performance is presented as a lecture demonstration. Melanie Kirk-Stauffer will be sharing her ideas, discussing each piece being performed, and providing an inside look at the process.
Dance Theatre Northwest is a 501-c-3 non-profit organization is committed to making dance as an important art form accessible to individuals and groups and to assisting future dancers and artists. For more information, visit www.DTNW.org or call (253) 778-6534.

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