Steamboat’s Perry-Mansfield to host renowned choreographer
March 20, 2014
Steamboat Springs — Alex Ketley had performed in lots of theaters and concert halls for a wide range of theater and concert goers.
As the director of The Foundry and a former classical dancer with the San Francisco Ballet, Ketley has worked with leading arts institutions and produced 15 full length works that have received national and international praise.
But for Ketley, there had to be more.
He'd perform, but the demographics of his audience wouldn't change much.
"I was starting to get a little worried that concert dance and fine art performance dance felt like preaching to the choir," he said. "You'd be in San Francisco or New York and the audiences would be excited, but it felt like a feedback loop."
Ketley will be in town starting Monday, giving three presentations and spending a week residency at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp.
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Ketley's latest endeavor, "No Hero," took his group through the rural American West to discover what dance meant to people where theater or concert halls aren't the norm.
Ketley will host a dance-making class Tuesday at Steamboat Springs High School, where he'll help Dance Showcase participants and a couple of groups from Steamboat Dance Theatre with their choreographed pieces while teaching a workshop on movement and dance.
Spots for that class are limited but anyone interested in participating should contact Perry-Mansfield Executive Director Joan Lazarus at email@example.com or 970-879-7125.
On Wednesday, Ketley and his crew of Aline Wachsmuth and Sarah Woods will present "No Hero" at the Bud Werner Memorial Library.
The performance begins at 5 p.m. and is free. It involves a movie created from the "No Hero" project to go along with a simultaneous dance performance.
Finally, Ketley will host a Dancers on Snowshoe performance from 6 to 9 p.m. at Perry-Mansfield on March 29.
Tickets are $20 at the door.
"He knows what a great project is," Lazarus said. "’No Hero’ and a lot of his other choreography is about process. It's about what dance means."
Ketley said he's always had a strong connection to nature and the rural west and wanted to find how dance related to people in places that are not known for the performing arts.
In Prineville, Ore., for instance, Ketley went to an Eagles Club where he met a group of widowed women who taught each other line dancing by watching YouTube videos.
This, he said, was the goal. Certainly, dance is meaningful and important on big stages in big cities, but it also was something real for those ladies in Prineville.
"It showed how in the United States dance is tangible to people's lives," he said. "People all over are really deeply engaged in dancing."
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