Dance group to perform aurora borealis-inspired dance

Augustana’s student-led fine arts dance company, The ArtiTänzer Project, will perform “Sirens of the Dancing Lights,” a story of two tribes attempting to save the northern lights, this year for its spring recital. Many dance forms will be used to tell this story, including contemporary, ballet, lyrical, theatrical and even some Irish choreography. The ArtiTänzer Project (ATP) is set to perform this story on May 1 and 2.
The story consists of two groups, the wolves and the sirens, in a world where humans are living in a disease-ridden society. The sirens only come out and sing when the northern lights shine, but they recently have been missing. The humans blame the wolves for the siren’s disappearance, but when a child of their own dies and becomes a siren in the afterlife, a resistance is created between the groups.
ATP at first was created in 2018 by senior Angelina Gibson, who has an extensive background in music and dance. “Arti” is the prefix for artisan and “tänzer” means dancer in German. Her idea to form a fine arts dance company took her around a year and a half to put together. She found both dancers and non-dancers who were interested in helping tell important stories.
Gibson said her inspiration for this unique story came from a visit she made to a wolf sanctuary a year ago.
“Wolves are highly intelligent and very compassionate creatures, and yet, they are often portrayed as the scapegoat in folklore,” Gibson said.
She said that “the goal of the group is to collaborate with other departments on campus to educate the audience while also entertaining them.” In addition to dance, the event will showcase pieces by Chad Nelson of Vinland Prints and an adjunct in the art department at Augustana.
His nordic art will be used throughout the performance as props and background scenery as well as on display on the way into the theatre. All of the pieces are made from carving into a block of wood called woodcut. Each piece averages over 100 hours of work to create.
“Angelina came to me, and her idea fit like a puzzle piece into what I do,” Nelson said. “I love Augustana and as an alumni I try to give back as much as I can.”
Senior Ruby Evans and junior Jayci Holsing will be performing in “Sirens of the Dancing Lights.”
“The ArtiTänzer Project is an outlet for people that grew up with a dance background and didn’t have a space to continue that in college until now,” Evans said.
The group practices once a week on Sunday nights year-round to prepare for the spring event. “I love the group of people I am able to work with and the fact that I am able to tell a story through my favorite art form,” Holsing said.
The Edith Mortenson Center will host the event both nights at 7:30 p.m. The audience can expect an artist talk at the beginning of the performance with Chad Nelson and narration during the performance of the story by religion professor Richard Swanson.
The Augustana community can anticipate another artistic and educational work from the ATP next spring.
“My hope is to share a wonderful, theatrical art piece that is saturated with emotions to help others experiencing similar emotions, such as grief,” Gibson said. “I think this might make people feel something, and it might make them think.”

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