Heidi Duckler Takes Dance Out of the Theater and Into the Public Eye

Posted on May 27, 2011

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Site specific dance has always been a favorite of mine because it often introduces dance to those who do not know a lot about the art form. The same can be said for Heidi Duckler’s “Laundromatinee” which was recently performed here in Eugene, Oregon. Heidi Duckler is a 1976 University of Oregon (UO) graduate and her work was set on seven current UO dancers at Emerald Laundromat. Duckler’s Los Angeles based company focuses solely on site specific work. They have performed at places such as Los Angeles City Hall, churches, libraries, hotels, community pools, and ice skating rinks.

While watching the performance, I happened to stand next to a woman and her young son, who seemed to have just chanced upon the performance and decided to watch. I assume that this was the boys first time watching modern dance. I couldn’t imagine him sitting through a two-hour modern dance concert but this exciting 15 minute show was the perfect way to introduce him to the art of expression through movement. Throughout the concert he asked his mom, “what are they doing?” and “why are they mad!” I listened as his mom explained to him her theories relating to the movement and music in a way that a three-year old could understand.

I also heard audience members saying, “I’m going to take a picture of this so I can say I saw girls dancing in a laundromat,” which is also awesome as it clearly wasn’t something they were expecting to see on a rainy Thursday afternoon. The audience was stuffed into the tiny laundromat and pressed against the windows outside as well. It was hard to see what was going on at times, but that was part of what made this performance so awesome.

I am so proud of my friends who danced so beautifully in “Laundromatinee” and I hope to see more of Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre’s site specific workin the future! From what I have seen so far, the company does an awesome job of including the audience in the experience and introducing non-dancers to the power of movement!

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