Walker Art Center Announces 2010-2011 Performing Arts Season

The Walker Art Center announces its 2010–2011 performing arts season today, featuring the ambitious five-part Adventures in New Puppetry series; an all-European edition of the annual Out There series showcasing new directions in performance; and area premieres, including two world premiere orchestral works, Highway Rider, the acclaimed orchestral jazz suite from composer/pianist Brad Mehldau and his quintet with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (Friday–Saturday, November 5–6), and Central Market by avant-rock composer Tyondai Braxton (leader of the math rock band Battles) with New York City’s adventurous Wordless Music Orchestra (Friday, March 4). The season features five Walker-commissioned new works, including the return of Minneapolis native and Walker favorite Ralph Lemon with a new dance piece on memory, transcendence, and human connection, How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere? (Thursday-Saturday, September 23-25); two master innovators—jazz trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas and experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison—create Spark of Being, a retelling of the Frankenstein myth featuring Douglas’ band Keystone (Thursday, October 7); choreographer Sarah Michelson and playwright/director Richard Maxwell collaborate for the first time to create Narrative Ballet on the Subject of Martyrdom (Thursday–Saturday, February 17–19), their take on narrative ballet; and Punch and Judy get slapped into the 21st century by Julian Crouch and Improbable Theatre in The Devil and Mister Punch, a copresentation with Bedlam Theatre (Thursday-Saturday, May 19-21). The season also features a landmark two-month artistic residency by renowned Japanese American dance creators Eiko & Koma who will perform a new “living installation” called Naked for the entire month of November, six hours a day, six days a week in Gallery 2 of the Event Horizon exhibition. Commissioned by the Walker to celebrate its 30-year relationship with the artists, the piece features the duo’s characteristic glacially paced movement amidst sound, light, video, and organic set elements of their own design.

The Walker’s 2010–2011 performing arts season spotlights innovations in puppetry arts with Adventures in New Puppetry. This five-part season-long series celebrates the burgeoning influence of puppetry among artists of all stripes. Combining dance, object theater, visual art, animation, and new music-theater with puppetry in fresh ways, the series also pays tribute to the Twin Cities own puppetry community, one of the most vital in the country. Featured are choreographer Crystal Pite’s Dark Matters (Thursday–Saturday, October 14–16); avant-garde Slovene physical theater troupe Betontanc teamed up with Latvian object theater masters Umka.lv for Show Your Face! (Thursday–Saturday, January 6–8) to open Out There; and a partnership with Open Eye to present an expanded two-week Toy Theatre Festival at Open Eye Figure Theatre (March 10–20), a program that includes several short commissioned pieces from national artists. Two distinctly different programs, one for adults and one for families, will alternate across both weekends, offering a stunning spectrum of miniature puppetry work; Woyzeck on the Highveld, the masterpiece from South Africa’s acclaimed visual artist William Kentridge and Handspring Puppet Company (March 24–26); and the aforementioned Punch tales from British mavericks Julian Crouch and Improbable Theatre (May 19–21), in collaboration with Bedlam Theatre and presented in an informal cabaret set-up in Bedlam’s home theater/bar.

Commenting on the 2010–2011 season, McGuire Senior Curator of Performing Arts Philip Bither said: “The projects featured in our 2010–2011 season share a joyous disregard for the narrow confines of standard artistic disciplines, reflecting the boundary-breaking directions so many artists are taking today—jazz composers collaborating with art-film makers, dancers with puppeteers, theater artists integrating film and objects, choreographers creating in-gallery ‘living installations.’ Our five-part new puppet-theater thread is particularly interdisciplinary, celebrating visual, theater, dance, and performance artists incorporating the ancient, analog magic of puppetry into their work. The season welcomes the return of internationally acclaimed artists like Ralph Lemon, Kronos Quartet, and the UK’s Gob Squad and Improbable Theatre—all artists whom we have actively supported in recent years—as well as many voices from across the world new to Minnesota. Music programming features ambitious, large-scale works, several even utilizing orchestral forces, by leading forces in jazz, experimental rock, and contemporary classical music. Despite challenging economic times, we have maintained our strong commitment to supporting artists in the creation of new works, with five major commissions, which will tour the world after their appearances at the Walker.”

Season Preview with Philip Bither
The public is invited to a free 2010–2011 Performing Arts Season Preview on Thursday, September 9, at 7 pm in the McGuire Theater. Philip Bither will discuss the dance, music, and theater events that make up what promises to be an exciting season.


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