Update: The Konverjdans residency has been canceled, but the rest of the event appears on track.
Megan Janssen describes her education as a strange, winding path that includes an Associate’s Degree in Architecture, certificates in sustainable design, and a Bachelor’s Degree in creative writing from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. Her interests are diverse, but her focus is currently locked in on the art of dance right here in Carbondale.
As is the case with many current local residents, Megan took a somewhat circuitous route here. She grew up dancing in her hometown of Ashland, Oregon, then moved to San Francisco, California, where she became a member of Alayo Dance Company, an Afro-Cuban Modern Dance performance group. Following her move to Carbondale, she worked at Trail Runner Magazine, and eventually joined Carbondale’s CoMotion Dance Company in 2018, while volunteering at Dance Initiative.
A non-profit dedicated to the art and creation of dance through education, collaboration and presentation, Dance Initiative is located at The Launchpad in Carbondale. In January of this year, Megan assumed the position of Executive Director of Dance Initiative, formerly held by Peter Gilbert.
I asked Megan what she considered to be the one thing about the art of dance that sets it apart from all other performance arts. She replied that “Dance is the body’s expression of the human experience. It’s ephemeral — it’s happening in the moment, and then it’s gone. You can’t stand and look at it like a painting on the wall.”
Dance Initiative currently offers artistic residencies to artists from other areas of the country and world, and the group Konverjdans from New York will be the next dance group to share their artistic talents with Carbondale and the Roaring Fork Valley, July 5-11.
Dance Initiative and Konverjdans are taking excessive measures to ensure a safe residency, including two-week quarantine for Konverjdans before arrival, isolated lodging, daily temperature checks before and after arrival, and limited contact with Carbondale residents and businesses (Megan will be retrieving coffee and running errands for the group while they’re here). When asked how Konverjdans became aware of the residency program in Carbondale, Megan offered that the program has become pretty well known in dance circles, particularly in New York.
Dance Initiative plans to offer Carbondale a self-guided Tour of Dance from 6 – 8:30 p.m. on July 10. Megan’s imagination and ingenuity have combined to create a unique event designed to keep Valley residents safe while enjoying live performance.
The Tour of Dance will feature four different stops around Carbondale, each with a different dance performance group. The groups will include Sopris Soarers, Alya Howe, CoMotion Dance Company, and Konverjdans (the current Artists in Residence).
The audience for the Tour of Dance will be small groups made up of five to 15 people. Each group will be assigned a schedule and route for viewing the dance performances, which will allow for comfortable social distancing. Viewers will make their way to each venue by foot, bicycle or via their own car. The total length of the route is estimated at one mile. Chairs will be available at each location. Seats will be six feet apart and face coverings are required at all times.
When asked about the possibility of bad weather on the day of the performance, Megan replied that “The Show Will Go On.” Come prepared for sun, wind, or rain to guarantee your comfort.
- Sopris Soarers – Ranging in age from 5 to 43, the aerialist dancers will offer a family friendly show.
- Alya Howe – Alya will read a text to accompany a solo dance performance.
- CoMotion Dance Company – Dana Ganssle Ellis will lead this collaborative creation featuring Contemporary Modern dance.
- Konverjdans (Artists in Residency) – Three core dancers will perform Contemporary Ballet, accompanied by a local musician.
- Adults and older kids are $15, kids 3-7 are $6, and younger ones are free.
- Make reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org or(415) 200-7008.
- Bandanas will be supplied to ticket holders (with contactless delivery). The bandana face covering will serve as your ticket for attending the event, so don’t forget it! Photography will be allowed.
- A livestream will also be available. Contact Megan for information.