Dance schools often slow down in summer, but not Dance Theatre Northwest. The University Place-based dance school is adding to its summer dance intensive and summer camp with a free public performance Saturday at the University Place Library Atrium. On the program are works in genres from classical to jazz, tap to contemporary — including two inspired by art at the Museum of Glass and featuring guest artist Katie Neumann along with company members.
Artistic director Melanie Kirk-Stauffer, who will give a lecture to accompany the performance, choreographed the three art-inspired works: the contemporary dance work “Planets” inspired by Dale Chihuly’s blue glass towers on the Bridge of Glass, and two classical works based on the ceramic bowls of Lynda Lowe’s “The Patra Passage.”
“Artists develop a unique voice and I just listen,” Kirk-Stauffer said about the process of choreographing from art. “I look at … the detail of the work — the line, color, movement, balance, harmony, symmetry, or size and shape — and use it to illustrate the artist’s intent. In the case of Lynda Lowes’s ‘Patra Passage’ vessels, the elegance of the gold, its brilliance, circular design, and the power in her message about giving became the work titled ‘Baroque — Grace, Power and the Light.’ I was gifted one of the vessels several months before the exhibition and had a great deal of time to hold it, to meditate on it and to study it. … In ‘Piece of Mind,’ I used the combined concepts of the pilgrimage and of being willing to let go of worldly things. The ‘Planets’ piece inspired by the Chihuly ‘Crystal Towers’ is strong and dramatic, and honors a visionary.”
Other pieces in the program include a Broadway-style tap piece and musical theater works. The performance is part of Dance Theatre Northwest’s “Arts are Education” series, which brings accessible dance to the public.