Thursday January 24, 2013

KEENE, N.H. -- The Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College and Vermont Performance Lab are joining forces to present "Niicugni (Listen)" -- a new dance performance created by Alaskan-born, Minneapolis-based choreographer Emily Johnson.

"Niicugni" is a new work that is the second in a triology of works that relate to Johnson’s Yup’ik heritage and the personal confluences of cultural traditions and contemporary performance work.

Johnson was an artist-in-residence with VPL in 2011 where she worked with a group of local people to create 11 of the 50 hand-made fish skin lanterns that are featured in "Niicugni." She is interested in bringing the community into her creative process again.

VPL and the RAC are seeking non-dancers from the community -- farmers and gardeners, librarians and archivists, sewers and knitters and beekeepers -- to participate in the performance of "Niicugni" at Keene State College on Feb. 13. Participants do not need any experience performing on stage, just a willingness to try something new, and be a part of a performance that celebrates community, place, memory and identity.

Volunteers would work with Johnson to find a common gesture/action that is done among the group. It might be the motion of planting seeds or harvesting crops, or a using a smoker or moving frames in a bee hive body or reshelving books. From this everyday gesture, Johnson will work with the group to create a common movement phrase that will be rehearsed and incorporated into the live performance.

Participants would need to be available for two rehearsals the week of Feb. 10 and for the Feb. 13 performance.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact Sharon Fantl at sfantl@keene.edu or 603-358-2167 or Sara Coffey at sara@vermontperformancelab.org or 802-257-3360.

Participants are expected to be available for one two-hour rehearsal on Sunday or Monday, Feb. 10 or 11 (TBD); for one evening dress rehearsal on Tuesday, Feb. 12, and the performance on Wednesday, Feb. 13. Participants will each receive a pair of tickets to the performance of "Niicugni," an invitation to the post-performance party on Feb. 13 and a free membership to the Redfern Arts Center’s 2013-14 performance season.