Dance - Interpreter

80th Anniversary of the American Dance Festival

"Gates" retitled "The Student" in 2014, by Vanessa Voskuil

"Léa Thomen auditioned for me for the Footprints program at the American Dance Festival (ADF) in the summer of 2013. Footprints is a shared program of three choreographic commissioned works that are performed by dance students enrolled in the ADF six week school. The work is fully produced and presented at Reynolds Industries Theater on the campus of Duke University in Durham, NC. Having auditioned a total of 370 dancers from around the world, Lea was at the top of my list for casting a piece of 20 people, plus 24 extras. It was a true honor to have been able to learn more about her as a performing artist/mover and creator during our six weeks together.

Léa is an extraordinary performer/mover and was easily one of the best performers/movers at the festival. When learning choreography, she processed the ability to transcend the movement/technique into a fully realized expression of her own, while capturing and maintaining the integrity of the movements' intention.

My creative process at the festival invited performers to partake in the process. I spent many hours researching the work through discussion and structured improvisations. I relied on the performers, individually and as an ensemble, to bring to life, physically, the themes of the work. I understood early on that Léa was not only a dancer, but also an artist herself. She fully contributed to the creative process intellectually and physically. I offered her a solo based on her contributions to the work.

I have invited Léa to continue to perform in the evening length version that has been retitled “The Student,” which will premiere in Minneapolis, MN at The O’Shaughnessy theater on the campus of St. Catherine University presented as part of the Women of Substance series April 3 and 4, 2014." - Vanessa Voskuil

Informations about the Piece: