Audiences of all ages are invited to come watch dancers at Panorama Playground, a unique performance that combines public art, dance, and music. We sat down with Dance Waterloo’s Artistic Director, Morgan Teel, to find out more about Dance Waterloo and how they are transforming dance in Austin.
Why are initiatives like the Dance Waterloo collaborative important to Austin?
The mission of Dance Waterloo is to cultivate, create and perform interdisciplinary methods of dance for the community through education, collaboration and the use of public space. Using public space for performance and programming allows dance to be more approachable for the community. The way we look at a bridge, park, or library is forever altered by our experience with it. There is a plethora of things to do and places to be in Austin that sometimes we forget to take notice of the bridge we cross for work or the sidewalk we use to jog or bike on. After seeing a dance under that bridge or along that sidewalk, your attention and focus to the little things that support Austin becomes heightened.
How do you see public art and dance transforming our community? Tell us more about the selection of Hurlyburly for the performance.
I stumbled across an image of Hurlyburly on Instagram in the Spring and I was instantly drawn in by how dominating and bold the lobster rope was in terms of space and color. As I began to research Hurlyburly more I learned it was supportive of movement in that it welcomes you to jump, run, and sit on it. I think dance and public art play an integral role in rejuvenating focus to Austin’s environment. Since the Spring, I have sat on the outskirts of Hurlyburly, observing for hours the community’s interaction with public artwork. I see best friends sitting to take pictures on it. I see children running around playing tag. I see a couple stop to read the sign about what it is, hesitate to step onto the lobster rope, look around to see if any guards are going to pop out and shout “Please stop off the art!”, and slowly gain confidence as they climb to the top of the highest hill.
When I stand on these hills and pan my body I see the sun sparkling on Lady Bird Lake, joggers along Ann and Roy Hike-and-Bike Trail, the mouth of Waller Creek, and the silvery, grey skyscrapers that make up Downtown Austin. This is a panoramic view of our city. Yes, without Hurlyburly, I could stand in this exact same spot and pan myself to see all the city has to offer––but I would not think to even do that without Hurlyburly. This is how public art plays an integral role in shaping our perspective of Austin––but it doesn’t stop there. In rehearsals, we see more people stop to engage with this installation in the first five minutes than I have seen in an hour of observing people’s engagement as a bystander. Why? People love to engage with other people. A bunch of brothers saw our dancers rolling on the thick rope and they began to roll on the thick rope, too. Just as I would not take in the panoramic view of the city without Hurlyburly, those boys would not think to roll around on Hurlyburly without engaging with our dance. Dance brings a unique awareness to public art and public art brings focus to our city.
Tell us more about the Panorama Playground performance and what the audience will experience?
The dance is whimsical, physical and playful––and we hope our audience plays with us! Using multi–channel headsets, the audience can create their own experience with the music while watching Panorama Playground. We have three playlists we like to call cosmic, convos, and underground. We hope the audience will flip through the channels frequently to watch the performance from a new perspective. Headsets are first come, first serve. You can reserve them in advance here. We will have hot beverages to keep the audience warm. And, we recommend bringing a chair or blanket. We will have a Q&A with our artists following the 4pm performance so stick around or come early!
What ways can Austinites get involved with Dance Waterloo?
In addition to our public performances, Austinites can get involved by attending a class! We offer a family dance education class called Storybook Dance Making. Using a storybook as our guide, parents and children are guided through a dance class that strengthens critical thinking skills, creativity and relationship building. Our Stretch & Strengthen class uses resistance bands to stabilize and stretch core muscle groups in a way that is adaptable to all ages, levels and abilities. Dance In Public Spaces is a site-specific class for dancers at public artworks in the city. To learn more about our programs, Austinintes can check out dancewaterloo.org and follow @dancewaterloo on social media.
Come enjoy Panorama Playground on January 28 and 29 at Hurlyburly! Click here for more info.
Photo Courtesy of Dance Waterloo.