Winifred Haun

Inspiration and Creativity: Dancemakers Inspired by Martha Graham

Melissa Bloch in The Leopold Group's "The Near Future".  Choreography by Lizzie

Creativity is an enchanting word; in the arts you could even say that it's a glamorous word. With its dreamlike promise of uncompromised originality, it conjures an alluring collage of romantic images, images that depict the drama of an individual's struggle to discover, and then construct from nothingness, something that has never been real before.

That's the movie version; in real life, real creativity is a lot more complicated than that. It's not less enchanting, not even less glamorous, but it's certainly a lot more complicated. Most of the time, creativity is more collaborative than it is individual and, to the gaping horror of working critics everywhere, true creativity is usually at least as derivative as it is original. Inspiration and creativity are so elusively interwoven that the most compelling and important new art is always a collaboration, perhaps unrecognized, with whatever past accomplishment made the present what it is. It's certainly that way in the art of dance, and especially in contemporary dance, because it's difficult to imagine how different the present might be if it had never been shaped by the creative accomplishments of Martha Graham.

Triptych: 3 Dance Voices

Manos: FRAME 1 Photo by Jacqueline Stewart.  Used by permission.

"Triptych: 3 Dance Voices" is the perfect name for a collaboration between Winifred Haun, Jessica Miller Tomlinson and Jacqueline Stewart; each is a multi-talented artist focused in Choreography, but all three are perhaps most recognized for the originality of their artistic expression. Winifred Haun is the founder of Winifred Haun & Dancers, a Company that has produced over a hundred and twenty-five original works since 1991. As impressive as longevity and originality are as separate qualities, very few Companies have combined them as successfully as Winifred Haun & Dancers. Jessica Miller Tomlinson is noted both for her consistently unique choreographic vision, and for her ability to successfully express her remarkable range of inspiration. Jacqueline Stewart, whose early works were Chicago based and who now lives and works in New York, is both choreographer and visual artist, and her multi-faceted view of the world is always somehow woven into the fabric of her choregraphic work.

"Triptych: 3 Dance Voices", which will be presented at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24 at 7:30 PM, features six works, two by each Choreographer. Haun's works include "Bemused", an aerial duet inspired by "the tortured relationship between a man and his slowly developing idea", and her acclaimed "Bento". Jessica Miller Tomlinson presents two world premieres, "Run 1, Run 2, Run 3" is a duet for Tomlinson and Joshua Manculich, and "Transient Interactions", an abstract group work for five couples. Jacqueline Stewart will also premiere two works, "Coffee and Alcohol", a quintet inspired "by the sensations of dehydration", and "Manos: FRAME 1", "the story of a woman lost in her own images and movements". (The piece was inspired by the photograph, taken by Stewart, pictured with this article.)

This is a really unique opportunity to see six works by three compelling choreographers; tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets. After Friday's performance, there will be a discussion with the choreographers, and Stewart will teach a Master Class from 5:00 to 6:00 P.M. For more information about each of these remarkable choreographers, check out each of their sites at Winifred Haun, Jacqueline Stewart and Jessica Miller Tomlinson.

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