“Occupy Dance 2013” Review- Creative, Powerful and Moving


“Occupy Dance 2013” closed out winter quarter at the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University.  It was a fantastic production.


Under the artistic direction of Northwestern faculty member Annie Arnoult Beserra, “Occupy Dance 2013” features the choreography of Beserra, Lizzie Leopold, David Lakein, Susan A. Lee, Stephanie Paul and Billy Siegenfeld, with special guest artists from the Chicago-based dance company Jump Rhythm Jazz Project (JRJP).


“This show serves as an entry point for people who are not traditionally dance audiences,” said Beserra. “We are creating a space that allows the audience to feel welcomed, identify with familiar emotions and be in dialogue with the art that is happening on the stage.”


The production brilliantly blended the spoken word that included original poetry, video, photo projections, changes of props and costumes, and a range of historical periods seamlessly and creatively.  Using a series of vignettes throughout, “Occupy Dance 2013” examines the ways the individual and the collective body react in moments of economic crisis. Employing dance theatre, contact improvisation and hip-hop, each of the pieces address such questions as who is impoverished, what does poverty mean and what fantasies and myths of the body have fears of economic hardship produced. The use of video and props that included apples and tents added to the interest and power of these works.


“Occupy Dance” features 17 Northwestern student dancers who also contributed to the show’s choreography. They were terrific performers displaying technical skill not only in dance, but acting and more. The creative team includes Chicago-based sound designer Nick Keenan, Northwestern staff member and projections designer Peter Anderson and Northwestern second-year MFA students Lindsey Lyddan (lighting) and Alexis De Forest (costumes). 


Highlights of the 2013 program include the 20th anniversary revival of JRJP’s “Getting There,” choreographed by Northwestern faculty member and JRJP founder and artistic director Billy Siegenfeld.  The Jump Rhythm Jazz Project: Jordan Batta (Rehearsal Director), Eva Carpenter, Brandi Coleman (Associate Artistic Director), Kevin Durnbaugh, Peter Hammer, Leah Martin, Drennen Mirtsching (understudy) Lizzie Perkins, Kristina Saldarelli, Lois Snavely was a terrific number with Chicago themed music and great dancing.



In addition, Northwestern Ph.D. student Lizzie Leopold, founder and artistic director of the Chicago-based modern dance company Leopold Group, collaborated with Beserra on “The Shadow,” which looks at the mythic images of heroes that arose in the Depression era.  This piece incorporated the music of “Me and My Shadow”, parts of the sound track from the radio show, “The Shadow” and lighting that created a shadow.  It was wonderful, creative, moving and powerful and is among the very best works I have seen anywhere.  I particularly loved the costumes with their swinging skirts.

Berlin- and Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist David Lakein’s work uses the relationship of bodies to physical landscapes and space to examine the Occupy movement, an international protest campaign against social and economic inequality.


Stephanie Paul, artistic director of Chicago-based dance company, Be the Groove, explored what it means to be creatively impoverished and what happens when environments are devastated in “resilient by design.”


“Single tickets are $10 to $25; tickets for groups of eight or more are $8 to $22 each; $5 are available exclusively to Northwestern students with valid IDs on advance ticket purchases only. Tickets are available through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or www.tic.northwestern.edu.


Open to the public, performances will take place 8 p.m. Friday, March 1; 8 p.m. Saturday, March 2; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 3; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7; 8 p.m. Friday, March 8; 8 p.m. Saturday, March 9; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus.


Photo credit :www.JustinBarbin.com



CONSTRUCTION ALERT: A three-year construction project underway on the southeast end of the Northwestern University campus has closed Arts Circle Drive to traffic. Free parking for evening and weekend events remains available, but the project impacts handicapped parking and patrons requiring special access to Evanston campus theaters, as the parking structure is not accessible to patrons unable to climb stairs. UPDATE: Through March 15, 2013, the northwest stairwell in the parking structure across from the Theatre and Interpretation Center will be closed. All visitors and audience members must exit the garage from the north-central stairwell and take the stairs leading up to the Louis and Barber theaters. For the most current information on the construction project and drop-off locations for patrons requiring special access to our theaters, visit www.tic.northwestern.edu/construction.

NORTHWESTERN NEWS: www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/


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