Dance troupe includes deaf performers

V. Paul

In looking to reach an audience traditionally excluded from dance, Heidi Hauser Jasmin and her troupe, the Nancy Hauser Dance Company, have included several deaf performers in two pieces for their spring concert.
In its first performance at the St. Paul Student Center since the 1980s, the Hauser company opened its nine-piece concert Thursday night for a weekend run, including a free noon-hour concert today.
The concert includes two new pieces by Jasmin, three repertory pieces by her and one created by her mother and company founder, Nancy Hauser, and two pieces by local performer Michael Yonkers.
With this concert, Jasmin wanted to build a new audience at the University and reach a new community by working with deaf performers. One piece, called “Storm Dance,” is performed without music and includes eight deaf dancers with eight other performers.
Another piece, called “Reeds,” is a solo for a dancer moving with two plastic rods that elongate her form.
“(The concert) is very visual. I work a lot through imagery and sculpture,” Jasmin said. “Art is the kind of thing you need to respond to through your emotions and senses. Dance comes through sight.”
The St. Paul Student Center hosts about 100 such performing arts events each year, attended by an estimated 17,000 students in total, said Brian Hostules, one of the center’s program advisers.
Though the performing arts committee, which selects the artists who perform at the center, changes each year, it does attempt to ensure that a wide variety of styles are brought on campus, Hostules said.
During the 1980s, the company performed annually at the student center. Jasmin said she wants to try to revive that tradition at the University, where she taught modern dance for 12 years in the 1970s.
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