Eclectic Edge Ensemble

“A contemporary jazz dance company with a diverse repertory, Eclectic Edge Ensemble collaborates with local musicians, choreographers, and other artists to create musically and theatrically inspired work. The company aims to present a fresh perspective on jazz dance in the Twin Cities, creating accessible performance experiences that connect to audiences through the pure joy of movement.”

Last time you saw Eclectic Edge at the Cabaret was the March Kinetic Kitchen. Karis Sloss says, “It was such a wonderful experience to be a part of a show that embraced so many forms of dance, and brought artists together to watch and support each other.” She immediately asked Sarah, the guest curator,  if they could be part of it the next year, and Sarah agreed.

Sloss, who has been dancing since the age of two, formed Eclectic Edge Ensemble the spring of 2002, after graduating from the U of M with a major in Dance and Theater Arts. “I have always known that I wanted to have a dance company that was a true ensemble and explored different forms of jazz,” she says. “I am so fortunate to have such a talented and supportive group of dancers. They have really helped me get EEE off the ground and moving forward. I have kept focused on all of my goals, and we keep plugging away.”

The piece they will be performing this weekend is called “Common Ground.” With music by Regina Carter–“rich with layers of differing rhythms, beats and melodies”–ten women explore “outer expression of control and strength, to inner feelings of fears and questions, and finally celebration and joy with others.”

For more information on Eclectic Edge, check out the website (www.eclecticedgeensemble.com), and be sure to attend their upcoming prdouction at the Ritz “For Sports’ Sake” July 15th-18th, 2010.

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Erinn Liebhard

Hiya, y’all! Sorry about the wait; these were supposed to go up yesterday, but then central Illinois decided to have an ice-storm and the power went down. The good news is  that I returned to my mailbox to find a lot of replies, so I’ll get them up lickety-split.

First off, I hope you’ll welcome a first-time Patrick’s performer, Erinn Liebhard! A regular performer with the jazz dance company Eclectic Edge Ensemble, the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers, and various pick-up projects, Erinn just came off of co-producing, choreographing, and dancing in Rhythmically Speaking.  A sold-out jazz choreographer’s collective show held at Minneapolis’ Bedlam Theatre in August 2009, Rhythmically Speaking was “an answer to the quiet but persistent call to get some quality jazz choreography out on the stage in the Twin Cities once more” after the disbanding of JAZZDANCE in 2004. Erinn was enthusiastic about the result, saying that it was “definitely a highlight of my career thus far!” and that there are plans for a similar show in May. Keep your eyes out!

Liebhard also just spent a year studying with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks in Calgary, Canada, an experience she described as “Incredible. Six hours of dance class a day, almost all jazz or jazz-related styles. I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the dance I love, perform it full time for a couple weeks, and learned a lot about myself as an artist.” She found it hard to leave, but “I don’t write border laws.”

This weekend she will be performing her piece, ‘Cautious Conscience,’ about the relief of sharing what is cooped up inside. The inspiration for the piece came to Erinn when, after a year of warring with herself, she decided to stop keeping a certain secret from someone very important to her. Even though she it was a minor, unimportant secret, the year was very difficult for her, and letting it out made her feel worlds better. Intrigued by these emotions, she decided to explore them through creating choreography, “my favorite response to anything!” She found the content first, and then happened upon a song that spoke to that idea and to her desire to move, so she used to song as a map for her exploration. Along the way, to develop a deeper concept and connection for her perfomers, she also came up with a series of related questions that they wrote and talked about, “using personal experiences as fuel.”