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Author: Becca Vaclavik

Q&A with ‘Lacunae’ Choreographers Kristen Holleyman, Gretchen LaBorwit and Kelley Ann Walsh

On Oct. 25th, CU Theatre & Dance opens “Lacunae,” choreographed by MFA Dance candidates Kristen Holleyman, Gretchen LaBorwit and Kelley Ann Walsh. The show will use the spiral, gesture and drive of bodies to craft a collision of apocalyptic, upside-down fairy tales, feminist ruminations on neurological difference and site-specific experimentations involving questions of intimacy, connectedness and the unknown. CU Presents had the opportunity to talk to Holleyman, LaBorwit, and Walsh about the show and what drives their passion for the arts.

What are you working on right now?

Kristen Holleyman: I’m currently working on my MFA thesis show “Lacunae,” presenting work and teaching at Quinzena de Danca Almada International Dance Festival in Almada, Portugal, am a principal performer with Chadash Contemporary Dance Movement, finishing my Gyrokinesis certification, and teach dance to the youth in the community.

Gretchen LaBorwit: Right now I am working on producing my MFA concert, “Lacunae.” [My work is] a 25-minute contemporary piece that tells a dystopian upside down “Alice in Wonderland”-esque tale.

Kelley Ann Walsh: I am working on my MFA thesis concert, “Lacunae,” which I’m thrilled to be sharing with two other amazing artists.

What is your dream project?

KH: I dream to create a sustainable movement practice and community hub that gives to and learns from the immediate and global community. I dream to connect to Spirit and provide healing through movement, while interweaving meaningful, collaborative work among good-hearted artists and teaching.

GL: My dream project is multi-media performance that uses dance for camera and live dances that live in the same world.

KW: I would like to be part of an Appalachian collaborative, interdisciplinary arts collective, making work in and for Appalachia.

What/who is inspiring you right now?

KH: Starfish, mollusks, the moon, women, salt water, rolling around on the floor, grassy feet, Spirit, spending time with friends, Maria Bamford, Audrey Lorde, Debbie Ford, Katia Aoun Hage, Denesa Chan, Kassy Francis, Brene Brown, Judith Becker, learning a new language, my cat Peetree, sunshine, shadow sides, frequency, waves, spirals, the dancers in my show.

GL: Right now my biggest inspiration in the field is Chunky Move Contemporary Dance. My biggest personal inspiration is the natural world that we live and come from and the small unnoticed beauty of everyday things.

KW: Appalachia, mental health, cats, the color green.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your show.

KH: The idea of inevitable connectedness….being suspended in the web of seemingly disparate threads…bodies, multimedia memories and transports…starfish, water, waves, empath, healing, shadows, darkness, light, the womb, intuition, womanism, the moon, the ocean floor… What constitutes a boundary? How does the ocean floor reflect the cosmos? How does this live inside and outside of us? A desire for healing. Agreement of language, of the word.

GL: The inspiration for this show is coming to terms with how I feel about the current climate of the world and how can I use dance and story to find solutions or ease from the problems that are monumental.

KW: I’ve been researching traditional Appalachian dances and square dances specifically. I love square dancing so much, and am interested in how they have evolved over time. I’m curious about at what point a square dance is no longer a square dance…

Without giving too much away, tell us about your favorite moment (so far!) in the performance.

KH: I love the revealing of multiple perspectives.

GL: My favorite moment in this creation of the performance is every chance I get to work with my dancers. They inspire me.

KW: Working with my cast to isolate their glute muscles…

What do you want audience members to know before they enter the Irey this fall?

KH: Prepare to move.

GL: I want audience members to know that they are going to go on a roller coaster of emotion. They will not be bored.

KW: I arranged the space very purposefully! Ideally it is square.

Tell me three things about yourself that might surprise people.

KH: I can play three instruments (mediocrely). I am an introvert at heart and need a lot of alone time to recharge. I was born a month early.

GL: Three things that might surprise: I’ve hiked from the west coast of Scotland to the east coast with my grandparents, I’d like to own my own dance/theatre venue one day, I love to garden.

Why are the arts important (to you or to humanity as a whole)?

KH: The human race has the ability to create and the ability to destroy. To me, art is a radical solution to express pain, joy and suffering; and it facilitates conversation around the past, the present and the future. I think it is the antidote to destruction and allows us to reimagine what is possible, to reimagine a world we want to live in.

GL: The arts are important to me and humanity, because it makes a human whole. Without the arts life would be boring.

KW: I believe in art’s ability to bring people together. I am particularly interested in art’s ability to have a positive impact on Appalachia. I love traditional Appalachia art, but as a contemporary, experimental artist making non-traditional art I am interested in how artists of all media can come together.