Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Women's Stories Project Includes Dance, Music, Stories

Infinity Dance Theatre will present the world premiere of The Women's Stories Project, a unique and inspiring theater work that includes dance, music, and the spoken word that grew out of a relationship between the dance company and The Creative Center (Arts in Healthcare). 

Conceived and created by Kitty Lunn, pictured above, The Women’s Stories Project features five amazing women, with courage and resourcefulness to spare, who tell their stories of love, loss, illness, and aging Nov. 17 at 2 pm and Nov. 18 at 5 pm at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, NYC. Tickets: $20; $15 for students/seniors/persons with disabilities. Reservations: 917.289.0799

Depressing? Not at all. The 75-minute work is just the opposite - it's funny, sad, ironic, and unexpected. It begins with wheelchair-bound Kitty Lunn’s performance of In Time Like Air, a solo created for her by Peter Pucci and set to a haunting saxophone solo by Don Cherry. She “slipped on and off the chair, tilting it, tipping it over and responding to its presence as if it had a personality all its own” (Jack Anderson, New York Times, 2001). The women’s solos were choreographed by Kitty Lunn, who also narrates.

Lunn is followed by longtime dancer Lynn Barr, dealing with the loss of her husband of 50 years; Sister Margaret, an outspoken Catholic nun for nearly 60 years, who speaks about the trials of her life, vocation, and mission; and the adorable Lucy, who lost her mother to breast cancer, and after burying her mother in Puerto Rico, discovers she has developed the same cancer. She undergoes horrific treatment and discovers her own strength through art, music, and dance. Lucy takes up belly dancing and Puerto Rican Bomba dancing, which she will demonstrate on the program. 

The company's scholar is Alice, a native of England, a professor of Medieval Literature, and proficient in 14 medieval languages. She became a wheelchair user as a result of an acquired spinal disease. Alice later began studying dance with Lunn and has now become a member of Infinity. 

Marcia Bernstein adds a haunting vocal as the women weave the common threads of their lives. Though these endearing women represent different ages, races, and walks of life, they represent all of us, connected through common threads of humanity, with one another and with the audience in this celebration of the triumph of the human spirit. Performances of The Women’s Stories Project will be sign language interpreted.

More About Kitty Lunn:
A New Orleans native, Kitty Lunn started dance classes as a child and performed with several companies, including the Washington Ballet, where she danced in Swan Lake, Giselle, Les Sylphides, The Nutcracker, and the full company repertory. Lunn moved to New York in 1967, and in 1987 while preparing for her first Broadway show, she was injured in an accident which left her paraplegic. 

Determined to show that dancers can move in a multitude of ways, Lunn founded Infinity in 1995 to expand the boundaries of dance and change the world’s perceptions of what a dancer is. In addition to regular New York seasons, the company’s schedule has included appearing at festivals in Italy, two seasons at the Kennedy Center in D.C., and the 1996 Cultural Paralympiad in Atlanta. Lunn is also active as an actress on stage and TV (including a long stint on “As The World Turns”), a dance educator, and an advocate for people with disabilities.

Unlike the theater piece "The Women's Stories Project," the programs of November 15-17 at 7 pm focus more on dance, and feature Lunn's Infinity and Toni Taylor's Pi Dance Theatre in works for disabled and non-disabled dancers. Choreography is by Lunn, Taylor and Roxana Lewis, with new music composed and performed live by William Catanzaro, and poetry by Andrew Macmillan.
www.elementsinfinitypi.com,

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

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All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

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Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

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Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

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The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

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I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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