Visiting choreographer teaches relationship between light, body

by Hilary Dickinson

University students and the public have a chance to study with renowned New York artist and Collaborative Arts faculty member Dana Reitz between Jan. 29 and Feb. 9.

Reitz is teaching free two-hour lab sessions called “Light and the Body,” in which participants can move within light and observe how it feels around them, as well as watch others from the outside.

As a choreographer, dancer and visual artist, Reitz has created dance scores incorporating light and movement for more than 30 years. She has also toured with and choreographed for renowned dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Participants in the labs can take any or all of the sessions. University students can receive credit if they take the whole sequence.

“It’s for anyone interested in working with light,” Reitz said. “Visual artists, performing artists, people in science. It’s a time to explore the inter-relationship of light and motion.”

Reitz is currently at the University as part of the school’s three-year project with the Center for Creative Research, which is joined with the new Interdisciplinary Program in Collaborative Arts at the University.

She and 10 other artists are in the CCR, which brings artists to universities to teach and research.

“CCR exists to reinvent how artists reengage with institutions,” project director Dana Whitco said. “We’re trying to figure out how artists

can be more fully integrated in intellectual life of the University.”

The partnership began last fall with the course “Move to Question” taught by Reitz and five other CCR artists.

Michael Cherlin, founding director of the Interdisciplinary Program for the Collaborative Arts at the University and a professor in the School of Music, said the course had a small number of students but the reviews were “glowing.”

Reitz and David Gordon, another CCR artist, were scheduled to teach spring courses but were cancelled due to low enrollment, Cherlin said.

“These are such gifted people and it’s such a shame that people don’t know they’re here,” Cherlin said.

Whitco said they are working on the logistical problems of students being unaware of the interdisciplinary arts and of the CCR artists not being at the University all the time.

Whitco said the CCR artists rotate courses at the University, and the University is one of a number of colleges the artists visit.

“Bringing these artists to the University is a great opportunity to facilitate dialogue because students in Minneapolis don’t normally meet artists nationwide,” Whitco said.

Reitz said she will be at the University for the next three weeks. She is scheduled to do a free workshop today at noon at the Nolte Center for Continuing Education in room 120, as well as visiting classes.

“I’m here and I really wanted to work with people to get the energy going in the program and the class and get people talking with each other,” Reitz said.