Minnesota Dance Theatre

piano plays The Moonlight Sonata (Lise Houlton) Being in the studio was always the only place that I felt truly comfortable, truly at home in my skin. There’s that moment where the music begins, and you transcend. Perhaps it’s a spirituality, perhaps it’s just submission, I don’t know, but where you give in and you start to dance and something else takes over. The walls disappear, and maybe that’s what art is, and every moment you can experience that, you become an addict, and you need more and more and more. Minnesota Dance Theatre was founded in 1962 by Loyce Houlton, my mother, and back in 1961, Loyce Houlton and a band of gypsy dancers from the University of Minnesota decided that it was so essential to have a place where young dancers could come and train. The place has a powerful history and has had a huge impact on many people. Erin Thompson, she went off to become a legendary New York modern dancer. I went off to Stuttgart and the American Ballet Theatre. Toni Pierce went off to Alvin Ailey. We sort of exploded in a myriad direction, due to the fact that she exposed us to so much. (Loyce) Okay, be over here more. Where are you Octavio? I was changing places before. (Loyce) I think here, I want you to be a pillar. Now you go over by the chair, and I want you to be primp, ’cause you don’t think that your father ever will… Such despicable behavior, and Septimius, you’re the Latin scholar, and you’re the same way. (Lise) Training with Loyce was always very interesting because you never knew what was coming. But her classes gave so many of us the opportunity to venture into a lot of different avenues of dance. She would always come into the studio and say to us, I expect so much from you. And that came back to me the other day and I said that to the children, and I could just see this, this change in their physique because mediocrity was just not, not acceptable in the studio, and I think so many of us love when people expect so much. I became artistic director in 1995, upon the death of my mother. My vision for Minnesota Dance Theatre is truly the continuation of what I experienced here. orchestra plays in bright rhythm In 2014, we celebrate 50 years of Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy in this community. Wow! laughs That’s huge, I think, and I was there at the first one, from the little Moppet Playhouse to Northrop to the Cowles Center and to the State Theatre, to the Orpheum Theatre– it’s been around, it’s toured the Twin Cities. Some of us have seen it from a number of angles, from a mouse from Sugarplum, from a rehearsal assistant, to the artistic director. The way one generation did one piece, now it needs to evolve, even with, with the role of a little mouse, we can find those moments where it transforms to suit the new artist. piano plays in bright rhythm I’m trying to challenge myself these days and get back into the studio. I’m very inspired by the dancers that I have in the company right now. Do that again and just, just relax, completely relax, like it’s of nothing. Collaboration is extremely important, always. I’m looking to do more in that line. I think it’s challenging for the dancers. So Katie D., can you just circle your arm from here? I’ve been talking to Dominique Serrand of The Moving Company about the possibility of doing a collaboration, and finally he found a bit of time. Somehow they’re too detached, I think. Try– did you not like her going down to the floor? Just I felt like they were too detached, that she couldn’t find a resolve back up. It’s the process that can become so interesting, a process that informs the dancers, that challenges the dancers, and also makes them dig into their personal resources, not just from their dance technique or aesthetic, but from places unknown. (Dominique) I think it would be good to articulate a little bit. To say how does that phrase work for you? And that it’ll be different for each you. But is this first move hold, second, third, or is it first, second hold, third move? Start to think about how, where there could be a suspension. (Lise) I want them to be muses, I want them to be exceptional interpreters, and those are big, big asks on my part. The mentorship, I think, of these, and the colleagueship of these dancers, can be really quite heartwarming and lovely and inspiring. piano plays softly It’s essential for us to create new work. Sometimes it’s the most challenging, and one has to really push to get the support, but new work is the lifeblood for dancers and I hope for our audiences, and certainly for dance as a performing art. We can’t keep repeating ourselves. We can still value and reproduce that which is so important because we have to value our heritage, but we need the other half of really taking it to a new dynamic, adventurous place. acoustic guitar; finger-picking in bright rhythm

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