Gustavus Choreographer Jeffrey Peterson Sets Show for Fringe Festival

Posted on August 9th, 2011 by

Choreographer Jeffrey Peterson's "Stand-Up" Photography by Stan Waldhauser

Choreographer Jeffrey Peterson's "Stand-Up" Photography by Stan Waldhauser

Gustavus adjunct instructor of theatre/dance and choreographer Jeffrey Peterson returns to the Minnesota Fringe Festival as he teams up with Christopher Watson to produce How Do You See It? The performance, a split-bill dance concert which offers a smorgasbord of  dances, ranges from witty to poignant to poetic. Performances are scheduled at the Lab Theatre in Minneapolis August 4, 6, 7, 11 and 13. Tickets and schedule are available at or by calling 866-811-4111.

The show invites the viewer into the intimate world on stage and questions the ever-evolving world outside the theater, exploring and exploding myths and truths about women, men, relationships, and the stages of life. In How Do You See It?, the audience can expect an entertaining, provocative, smartly-crafted, and impeccably performed theatrical experience.

Dancers in How Do You See It? include Gustavus alumni Jordan Klitzke ’10, and Sarah Jabar ’10, as well as Erin Simon ’12, along with Jeremy Bensussan, Ruth Boehme, Megan Bridges, Bryan Gerber, Susanne Grochett, Sarah LaRose-Holland, Jill Patterson and Una Setia.

Peterson’s “Thinkingaview,” was a smash success at the 2010 Minnesota Fringe Festival and was named “A Highlight of
2010” by MPR’s Art Hounds. Jeffrey Peterson will follow that success with “Stand-Up,” a work he first choreographed on students at Gustavus as part of the 2011 Spring Dance Concert. “Stand Up” uses bold, suggestive, and cliché movement to unabashedly unravel female stereotypes and the objectification of women.  Just as “Thinkingaview” unraveled social constructs regarding gender and love through the creative use of repetition, “Stand Up” dissects our cultural tendencies toward women and politics, beauty, power, marriage, and pregnancy.  In “Stand Up,” choreographed sections of the work are repeated verbatim, once with musical accompaniment (by Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Yma Sumac), and once with recordings of stand-up comediennes (by Margaret Cho and Whitney Cummings).  Through brash, athletic dancing, and strong audio choices, this culturally significant work seeks to entertain and challenge its viewers, encouraging all to “Stand Up” for equality.

A contrasting work, “One Long Right Now: Everything is Different—Nothing Has Changed” (2010) by Christopher
Watson originated as a celebration of survival and the everyday, based on poetry by Minnesota dancer/writer Su Smallen.  The work brushes with the realization of mortality, and gratitude for the relationships that support us in rough times. The duet from “Panorama” (2003) by Watson, originally set on two women, tenderly and meditatively portrays relationships. Now performed by two men, it raises questions about our individual and cultural restrictions/biases with regard to what physical interactions are “acceptable” or “normal.”  In Watson’s lighthearted “Pursuit” (2008), a man and a woman each vie for the attention of a woman who can’t seem to decide with whom she should become involved.

Jeffrey Peterson creates choreography with the aim to connect with audiences through avenues both intellectual and kinesthetic.  Dubbed “…poetic precision…” by Rick Nelson of the Minneapolis StarTribune, Peterson’s work utilizes music and movement to present topics of cultural concern.  His work was commissioned by Dance New Amsterdam’s In The Company of Men, Movement Research at Judson Church, and The Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, and has appeared in the Dancenow/NYC Festival at Joe’s Pub and Joyce SOHO, Rhythmically’s Speaking’s Principles of Pulse, The Rabbit Show, Patrick’s Cabaret, Kinetic Kitchen, The Minnesota Fringe Festivals of ‘03 and ’10, and at Dixon Place, The Bryant Lake Bowl, The Bedlam Theater, and Intermedia Arts.  Peterson holds an MFA in dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and a BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. He currently serves on the dance faculty at Gustavus where he teaches Jazz, Modern, and Contemporary Partnering.

Christopher Watson’s choreography has been variously described as buoyant, lyrical and dramatic. Camille LeFevre has written, “There’s a quiet rhythm to the group dancing. Repeating choreographic phrases pulse, swirl, arc and reach with a seamless continuity.” The foundation of his work is what might be termed ‘classical modern dance’ in the tradition of Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor and Jose Limon. Working collaboratively with the dancers, he deconstructs the form, adding idiosynchratic nuances that are often the result of improvisation. “This way the work remains alive and deeply personal,” says Watson.

How Do You See It?, choreographed and produced by Jeffrey Peterson and Christopher Watson will be performed at the Lab Theater (700 N 1st St, Minneapolis) on August 4 at 10:00 p.m., August 6 at 7:00 p.m., August 7 at 4:00 p.m., August 11 at 5:30 p.m. and August 13 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for How Do You See It? are $12 + $4 festival admission button. They are available online: or by calling 866.811.4111.


Comments are closed.