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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Unique ‘Being/With:Home’ to blend at-home, virtual dance in Sheboygan

Critic At Large

John Michael Kohler Arts Center

Poster for “Being/With:Home.” (Nichole Canuso Dance Company)

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (WFRV) – John Michael Kohler Arts Center and Nichole Canuso Dance Company will collaborate to present “Being/With:Home” starting next week. Info: jmkac.org.

According to a press release: The Feb. 17-24 project involves a free, online participatory performance exploring separation, connection and the power of listening.

In the words of the center: “Being/With:Home” participants will embark on a poetic encounter with a stranger, accompanied by a tender and mysterious audio guide. Two solo audience members/participants, each in their own home, are connected across space and time via Zoom. Embracing the objects and memories that populate their own spaces, the two are invited to build something new: a duet with someone unexpected.

The online structure of “BeingWith:Home” is the result of writer/choreographer Nichole Canuso and her Philadelphia-based dance company adapting an existing work, “Being/With,” to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic environment.

“Being/With” was transformed into “Being/With:Home” – a Zoom-based work – for the 2020 Fringe Festival.

“The original project was designed to be a one-on-one encounter between two strangers at a time, each in separate installations,” said Canuso. “The project addressed loss, longing and connection. Although the pandemic temporarily halted the construction of the original version, it

felt like the themes of the project could still speak directly to this time of uncertainty, social distancing and isolation.”

Shifting “Being/With’s” script from the site installations to the Zoom platform was both organic and illuminating, according to Canuso.

“Embedded in the project is a reminder that we each carry a wealth of memories and ideas with us, expanding far beyond the present moment. As we rehearsed in this new scenario, the project transformed, embracing the intimacy and vulnerability of the at-home setting, and we quickly found a sister project that we named ‘Being/With:Home’.”

To participate in a “Being/With:Home” duet, visit jmkac.org/beingwith. Reservations, which are free, are limited to 40 (20 duets).

Available times, all Central Standard Time: Feb. 17, 5:30 and 7 p.m.; Feb. 18, 5:30 and 7 p.m.; Feb. 19, noon, 1:30 and 3 p.m.; Feb. 20, noon, 1:30, 3, 5:30 and 7 p.m.; Feb. 22, 11:00 a.m., 12:30 and 2 p.m.; Feb. 23, 5:30 and 7 p.m.; Feb. 24, noon, 1:30 and 3 p.m.

Nichole Canuso’s choreographic projects have been presented nationally at New York Live Arts (New York City), American Repertory Theater (Massachusetts), Los Angeles Performance Projects (California), Velocity (Washington), HERE (New York City), The International Festival for Art and Ideas (Connecticut) and internationally in Hungary, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Support for her choreographic work includes The National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, National Dance Projects Funding, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

“Being/With:Home” was developed with support from New England Foundation for the Arts, National Dance Projects Award, Pennsylvania Humanities Council Pop-up Grant and support from FringeArts.

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