“We’re turning the traditional power dynamic of the choreographer on its head,” says Lauren Linder, the organizing force behind Double Vision: Duets in Dance, an exciting new collaborative showcase coming up this weekend at Yaw Theatre. SeattleDances caught up with Linder, who received a 2017 DanceCrush for her work The beginnings of an emergent truth about whipped cream, to hear all about her upcoming show, her recent tour to Europe, and her numerous projects as a dance artist and teacher.
Double Vision features duets by four choreographers: Alyza DelPan-Monley (Seattle), Cameo Lethem (Seattle), Sean Thomas Boyt (Philadelphia), and Melinda Jean Myers (Iowa City), each with their own distinct style and aesthetic. Rounding out the evening is a dance film by Ella Mahler and Liz Houlton. In addition to her role as producer and curator, Linder will be performing with Boyt in the Melinda Jean Myers duet. Entitled 30 Years Ago, 40 Years From Now, the work explores the evolving nature of long-term relationships.
It’s been seven years since they first performed the piece as undergraduates at the University of Iowa, and Linder and Boyt are “reformatting it” to reflect the evolution of their friendship and relationship as artistic collaborators. When Myers, then a Graduate student, first set the piece, Linder says that she and Boyt didn’t know each other very well so right away they went to the “stereotypical gender roles of romantic attachment.”
Revisiting the work back in April and again in an intensive process in the week prior to the show, Linder and Boyt find their new take on the work to be much “more nuanced” and rich, a reflection of their evolving bond as co-dancemakers over the past few years. A fun and pedestrian duet set to 80s music, Linder is excited to perform the redeveloped work as part of Double Vision this weekend.
When Boyt approached Linder back in November of 2017 with the idea to produce a show inspired by “a broad interpretation of the word duet,” Linder at first balked at the enormity of the task. Luckily, Linder has been so impressed by the generosity of her community, which came out of the woodwork to pitch in and help with her first time producing a show. Collaborators including Eric Molono, Ethan Rome, Cameo Lethem, Liz Houlton, and many more, came together to take on the many administrative tasks of producing Double Vision. “Stella [Kutz] at Yaw has been so great in facilitating this project,” Linder adds.
The idea of collaboration, or “ambiguous authorship,” has influenced the creation process for Boyt’s duet, which began as a script that he sent them from Philadelphia. In Seattle, Linder has been working as a rehearsal director, crafting the contributions of the dancers and working together to create movement. “We even got my nanny kids to make some material!” Linder laughs as she recalls the unusual creation process. Boyt also asked local dancemaker Drew Santoro to come in for a month as a guest director. It will be fascinating to see the results of these different influences working to create a reimagining of the traditional norms of the dance duet.
Despite her ambitious work as a curator and producer, Linder is most focused on performance, she says. “I like to find people whose artistic sensibilities I believe in. I like to be creatively involved,” Linder explains. Linder has performed with Veronica Lee-Baik’s The Three Yells in Giselle Deconstruct and is also involved in the upcoming A Crack in the Noise. Earlier this month, Linder had the exciting opportunity to tour to Croatia and New York City with Petra Zanki, performing a solo that premiered at Velocity in 2016. During the three-week tour, Zanki and Linder spent time in an artistic residency in France, tightening up the work before performing it in Zagreb and at WOW Café Theatre in New York.
Linder also directs plays in a program called Ease Drama, which helps children learn English language building skills through theater. Linder has traveled to several Chinese cities in order to direct traditional tales, original scripts written by the children in the program, and also modern versions of fairy tales. Linder uses her experience as a preschool teacher to help children acquire language skills in a lively and enjoyable way. The program also includes workshops for parents centered around playing with their children and workshops just for adults who want to reconnect to their playful, childlike selves through theater.
Linder has future plans to challenge herself in the studio to create her own solo work. “I’m interested in performance and movement through the lens of giving as a gift to the audience my most gentle, softest body into the space.” Linder hopes to push herself to find her own choreographic voice as a soloist through creating a “fully fleshed-out ritual to be witnessed by the audience.”
For more information on the talented DanceCrush Lauren Linder, please visit HERE.`