Monday, August 31, 2015

Living Dance Museum

Former ACC dancer and current dance history professor at Texas State, Amanda McCorkle, described Dancestry to one of her classes as walking into a museum. Dancestry premiered at the Long Center in May and is playing again September 11-12 at the Patti Strickel Harrison Theatre at Texas State. 

The show provides Austin-area dancers with a priceless opportunity to see some of the most influential early modern dance works brought back to life. ACC dance faculty Jessica Lindberg Coxe is in the midst of it all with her breathtaking Loie Fuller reconstructions. 

Jessica during tech at the Long Center for Fuller's Lily of the Nile
Jessica first became interested in Fuller as an undergraduate at Southern Methodist University. Her dance history teacher briefly mentioned an actress turned dancer who changed theater history and influenced modern pioneers like Isadora Duncan. Frustrated that so little was known about such a major influence, Jessica found a passion she enjoys to this day. "Basically nothing existed and I wanted to see what inspired so many artists of all kinds," Jessica said. 

Fuller's Lily was originally performed in 1896. 
Her first reconstruction was Loie Fuller's Fire Dance at Ohio State University while completing her MFA in Dance Notation, Reconstruction and and Directing from Score. "I never chose the path of reconstruction. I always thought I would be a dancer and dance the works of Loie Fuller. Basically, it's her teaching me. She was giving me this material to work with and I breathed life into it," Jessica said. 

Dancestry is your chance to see Fuller's work; an opportunity no one had before Jessica was inspired in a dance history class as an undergrad. "Anytime you get to see something people saw over a 100 years ago, you learn something about yourself, about art form and about aesthetics. These pieces spoke to people a 100 years ago and they still resonate today." 

The lighting for Fuller's pieces are reconstructed by Megan Slayter. 

Dancestry also showcases work by early modern pioneers Isadora Duncan and Erick Hawkins. If you ever wanted a chance to see dance history come alive, check out the show. There are also several former ACC dancers performing. So come support your fellow dance mates and help preserve these early modern dance legacies!

Dancestry runs September 11-12 at the Patti Strickel Harrison Theatre. Tickets available online.

Photography by Anne Wharton.

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