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Arts & Culture

New Haven Community Invited To Join In The Dance

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Witney Browne
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New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas
Particpants work on their moves in "Lets Make A Dance" workshop.

Has performing in front of a live audience been on your bucket list for a while? Well, you may be in luck. A modern dance group is holding a series of free workshops in New Haven this weekend. The workshops are for tailored anyone who wants to dance, regardless of age or experience. The end result will be a performance at next year's International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven.

"Let's Make a Dance" is the brainchild of the New York-based modern dance ensemble Larry Keigwin + Company. Dancers and non-dancers from all walks of life come together with the sole purpose of creating and performing an original dance piece.

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Credit Witney Browne / New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas
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New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas
People from all walks of life are encouraged to particpate in "Let's Make a Dance"

“The idea of dance, especially in our culture can be intimidating, but it shouldn't be.” said Larry Keigwin + Company co-founder Nicole Wolcott. “Everyone has dance inside of them, because everyone has movement inside of them, and dance brings so much joy.”

Everyone is encouraged to participate in the workshops, regardless of age, experience or other limitations. The workshops will eventually become a performance piece at next year's International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven. Wolcott said the workshops are the first step in the process, and creative input from the participants is crucial.

“When we work with people who are not trained professionally, we source movement from them,” explained Wolcott, “we're not asking them to be choreographers, we'll do that. But we will give them, you could say assignments, where they make movement, and we come back and say, ‘well, what if you did it this way, and what if you stood over there and did it, and you did it with someone else,’ and all of the movement comes from them.”

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Credit Witney Browne / New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas
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New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas

Wolcott says the ideas kicked around in the workshops will turn into formal choreography during the rehearsal period. Larry Keigwin + Company have done similar projects around the country, including in their native New York City. Wolcott says the end result next June in New Haven will be pure entertainment for the audience.

“What we want the audience to get out of it is the very basic human condition of acceptance, aging, joy in performance, vulnerability. It's not to be confused with a dance that is pure formalism, it feels a little more raucous than that,” said Wolcott.

"Let's Make a Dance" workshops are this Saturday and again on November 23rd at the United Church Parish House on Temple Street in New Haven.

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Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series “Where Art Thou?” Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of “Morning Edition”, and later of “All Things Considered.”

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