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Dance Up Close to Laura Peterson Choreography

Dance Up Close to Laura Peterson Choreography
Garnet Henderson/Follow @garnethenderson on Twitter

By Garnet Henderson/Follow @garnethenderson on Twitter
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Published on June 10, 2014
Photo: Carl Skutsch

As the Company Prepares for its New York Premiere of "The Futurist"

The Futurist
University Settlement, 184 Eldridge St., Manhattan
June 12-14, 8:00pm

Ticket information, go to the University Settlement website

Choreography: Laura Peterson in collaboration with the dancers
Visual design and costumes: Laura Peterson
Installation: Jon Pope Performers: Kate Martel, Jennifer Sydor, Laura Peterson and Michael Ingle
Composer: Joe Diebes Lighting Design: Mandy Ringger

Laura Peterson’s latest work, The Futurist, represents the culmination of a meticulously researched process. The piece draws on writings from the Futurist movement, the work of Russian painter Kazimir Malevich (who ultimately moved away from the Futurist aesthetic), and ideas about aging and change over time, among other influences.

The Futurist, Futurism and Futureness

One notable element of the dance is its soundtrack which consists of what Peterson calls “factual sound.” There is no instrumentation – all “music” comes from the movements of the dancers. Peterson worked with composer Joe Diebes to develop this concept. Sometimes, it means that dancers are swinging microphones on long cords as they move, occasionally dropping them to the ground. At other moments, the performers create sound by rubbing the microphones on their own bodies, or moving stationery microphones around.

Laying Down the Facts of Sound

The Futurist also features a scenic installation, a large part of which consists of sound equipment: microphones, wires, and speakers. Peterson says that color and shape are fundamental to the way she thinks about her dances. “The integration of visual design and choreography is paramount to me.”

Mic-ing Around with Laura Peterson Choreography

Collaboration in all realms is also key to Peterson’s work. She stresses that all the performers play an equally important role in generating the final product. “Everyone is an author of this dance,” she says. “There are four dancers, including me. I always ask for feedback, and everybody’s voice is important. I work with dancers who are willing to do that, who want to be authors in the dance.”

Peterson, who consistently performs in her own work, says that she has reached a familiar point where “I know what’s going to happen, but I know that I’m not doing it the way I will. It’s almost like I’m a placeholder for myself.” In order to feel that she is performing to the best of her abilities, Peterson often spends time alone in the studio refining her own parts. She notes the unique challenge of having to be inside a dance while maintaining an outside eye. “It’s hard to do that,” she says, “but ultimately I find it satisfying.”

Follow Garnet Henderson on Twitter @GarnetHenderson



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