Performance: Ascension

Choreographer: Elizabeth Shea
Company: Elizabeth Shea Dance
Performers: Alyssa Athens, Corey Boater, Maddy Grande, Corinne Jones, Megan Kudla, Savannah Lewis, Carly Liegel, Kate Lyons, Maddy McCarthy, Rachel Newbrough, Kelsey Smock, Justin Sears-Watson
Costumes: Dana Tzvetkov
Music: Craig Michael Davis

Artist’s Statement: Ascension is a site-specific work created to celebrate the re-opening of the Eskenazi Museum of Art, which was closed for two years for renovation. The modernist structure was designed by acclaimed architect I.M. Pei; it is a sibling to the glass pyramid entrance to the Louvre. Pei once said, “The important thing, really, is community. How does it (the design) affect life?” Pei’s philosophy forms the basis for an approach in producing a site-specific work that revolves around drawing together art and community as reflected in new, architectural changes to the museum itself. Uncovered windows and glass walls suggest themes of transparency; open spaces for art education remove barriers between artist and viewer; places to experience wellness convey a sense of caring and outreach. The new designs tear down walls, and drawing our community together, inviting in people of all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, and life experiences. We all reach to a higher place, thus, Ascension.

Her work reviewed as “a remarkable contemporary dance display,” Elizabeth Shea’s choreography has been produced by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and presented at numerous festivals across the USA, as well as in Australia, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and China.  Liz recently won Sharp Dance Company’s inaugural choreography competition and has been a guest artist for many professional companies and universities. Liz teaches her self-developed somatic practice, SomaLab®, and choreographic methods and mentorship at workshops in the USA and abroad, most recently at the Royal Academy of Dance in London, and Dance Italia, in Lucca, Italy. Liz has worked extensively in new media and film; her recent work Breath|Light|Stone, has been an official selection at film festivals internationally and won several awards, including Best Choreography for the Lens, Best Dance Film, Best Ensemble, and Best Cinematography.  Liz serves as Director of Contemporary Dance at Indiana University.

Elizabeth Shea Dance is a chamber ensemble who seek new ways to tell human stories. The company has performed across the US and abroad, at numerous festivals, venues, and college campuses. Working extensively in new media and film, the ensemble collaborated with lighting designer Allen Hahn for Breath|Light|Stone, which has been screened as an official selection at international film festivals across the globe and won several awards. The company was also featured in the Emmy-Award winning (Lower Great Lakes) Beautiful by Design and collaborated with NYC-based Stefanie Nelson Dancegroup for the evening-length Moving Memory Project. Most recently, Elizabeth Shea Dance was invited to perform Ascension, a work created in honor of the grand re-opening of the Eskenazi Museum of Art designed by I.M. Pei. The work was seen by over 1,000 people and was reviewed as “an incredible awakening that brings us into the embrace of Mr. Pei, whose spirit very much floats throughout the structure.”

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