On Thursday, May 17, the Jessica Lang Dance company began a two-day immersive visit with the Louisville community. The nine company dancers and the company rehearsal director led three concurrent masterclasses with a total of 60 sophomore, junior, and senior dance majors at the Youth Performing Arts School. The dancers worked with the students on a structured warm-up to live music followed by word-association movement exercises and learning repertoire from the company’s live show.
Louisville Public Media station 89.3 WFPL featured these workshops in this article.
On Thursday evening, the company met with the Kentucky Center Arts in Healing Warrior’s Heart community in Butchertown. Warrior’s Heart is a voluntary group of veterans and civilians dedicated to building community where all can thrive in a safe environment, using creativity, courage, and storytelling to share the lessons and experience of combat. The dancers and 10 community members interacted through ice breakers, mirroring exercises, movement-based word-play, and visual arts to share in healing exercises and learn from each other’s experiences. The company also shared how Jessica Lang created her piece, Thousand Yard Stare, from anonymous veteran stories and incorporated the emotion of those accounts into everything from the choreography to the costuming.
On Friday, May 18, company rehearsal director Claudia McPherson and tour manager Callen Gosselin led a LANGuage class, developed by Jessica Lang to bring creativity into everyday life, for 10 Kentucky Center staff. The Kentucky Center's Programming Outreach and Wellness Initiative teams co-hosted this event to promote creative skills through movement for business professionals. The class offered staff members a chance to interact with the artists in a relaxed environment and also earn Humana's Go365 "wellness points."
On Friday evening, the company performed a visually and aurally stunning performance at the Brown Theatre concluded by the piece, Thousand Yard Stare. Veteran’s from the Warrior’s Heart Community attended that evening to see their new friends perform and visited with them backstage at the end of the night. The veterans' artwork, among artwork from other Arts in Healing programs, was prominently featured in the lobby. In addition to the artwork, the University of Louisville School of Music provided a student classical guitar trio in the Frazier Lobby as part of their May Month of Music event schedule. Following the performance, three company members participated in a question and answer session with 100+ audience members discussing everything from how the pieces were created to a typical day as a member of the company.