Harnessing innovation to create dance during COVID

Faculty member Sarah Hauss received a $10,000 grant to bring young choreographers' visions to the stage.
Posted on September 30th, 2020 by

Dancers rehearse a site-specific piece choreographed by McKayla Murphy '16. The performance opens Thursday.

These days it’s a rare opportunity to see dance live, in person, and safely in Minneapolis. Thanks to the creativity of a Gustavus professor, the choreography of several alums, and a $10,000 grant, this weekend it’s possible.

Inbox@Artbox opens at 7:30 p.m. October 1 and runs October 4 at Off-Leash Art Box in Minneapolis. The concert is a unique format where small groups of six to eight audience members will rotate between 11 different performance stations. With a video screening room for “dance for video” performances, two outdoor stages, as well as more traditional dance pieces inside, audience members will get a diverse array of performances in one evening.

The concert is the brainchild of Adjunct Assistant Professor in Dance Sarah Hauss. While it started as a volunteer project three years ago, the annual choreographer’s showcase is now in its third year. The event has grown in popularity and this year she received a $10,000 Metropolitan Regional Arts Council Community Arts Project Grant to support the project.

Hauss says that while it has been exciting to figure out the best way to pull all of this together during these unprecedented times, it has also been a unique challenge. “It feels like there are so many more considerations. Just so much problem solving and solution finding,” she says. “But artists are so creative and adaptable, and I have learned so much.”

Twenty three pieces were submitted from around the region to be a part of the showcase and 11 pieces were selected by a panel for the show. Five of those pieces were choreographed by Gustie alums Madelyn Burnham ‘19, Ann Carlson ’20, Samantha Heggem ’17 and John Surber ’17, Maddi Miller ’19, and McKayla Murphy ’16. Kadie Habana ’15, Allie Retterath ’18, and Mia Massaro ’19 are featured dancers.

Throughout the entire experience audience members will spend less than 10 minutes at a time indoors and will remain socially distanced throughout the event. Masks will be required. Tickets can be purchased on a sliding scale to make the event accessible to all, and reservations are required. In case of rain on any of the performance dates, there will be added shows Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. For more information and tickets visit Off-Leash Art Box’s website.


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