On Thursday, May 17, the Jessica Lang Dance company
began a two-day immersive visit within the Louisville community. The nine
company dancers and the company rehearsal director led three concurrent
masterclasses with a total of 60 sophomore, junior, and senior dance
majors at the Youth Performing Arts School. The dancers worked with the
students on a structured warm-up to live music followed by
word-association movement exercises and learning repertoire from the
company’s live show.
Louisville Public Media station 89.3 WFPL featured these workshops in this article.
On Thursday evening, the company met with the Kentucky Performing Arts ArtsThrive
Warrior’s Heart community in Butchertown. Warrior’s Heart is a
voluntary group of veterans and civilians dedicated to building
community where all can thrive in a safe environment, using creativity,
courage, and storytelling to share the lessons and experience of combat.
The dancers and 10 community members interacted through ice breakers,
mirroring exercises, movement-based word-play, and visual arts to share
in healing exercises and learn from each other’s experiences. The
company also shared how Jessica Lang created her piece, Thousand Yard Stare,
from anonymous veteran stories and incorporated the emotion of those
accounts into everything from the choreography to the costuming.
On Friday, May 18, company rehearsal director Claudia McPherson and
tour manager Callen Gosselin led a LANGuage class, developed by Jessica
Lang to bring creativity into everyday life, for 10 Kentucky Performing Arts staff. KPA Programming Outreach and Wellness
Initiative teams co-hosted this event to promote creative skills through
movement for business professionals. The class offered staff members a
chance to interact with the artists in a relaxed environment and also
earn Humana Go365 "wellness points."
On Friday evening, the company performed a visually and aurally stunning
performance at the Brown Theatre concluded by the piece, Thousand Yard Stare.
Veterans from the Warrior’s Heart Community attended that evening to
see their new friends perform and visited with them backstage at the end
of the night. In addition to the live performance, patrons enjoyed an exhibit of artwork by ArtsThrive participants, live music provided by the University of Louisville School of Music, and a post-performance Q&A session with members of the dance company.