It began with a poem...
To me, poetry is the essence of language. It should be read out loud for the ears to hear and the heart to process.
Dance communicates what the heart knows. Both poetry and dance speak to our hearts and from our hearts. They can bring together people who don’t speak the same language to feel, understand and experience humanity.
Poetry has been my muse ever since I can remember...
In undergrad I discovered T.S. Eliot’s poem The Wasteland, and the theater major in me read it as a Shakespearean drama, filled with contemplation, love, and longing, and ending with hope for a better world. For a graduate school project, I adapted the first section for the stage. Two years later, on April 20, 2001, four performers took to the stage to perform my adaptation of this famous poem. Every time I hear the soundtrack and the words to this poem, I am taken back to this moment, when I truly did not know that this production was the start of my career and would lead me to form what would become Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble.
As part of our 20th anniversary archival project, we transferred several VHS tapes to an external hard drive. I was excited to see the original production of The Wasteland. I will forever be grateful for the artistic collaboration of Jim Contreras, Allison Farnum, Melissa Lawson and Blake Montgomery who helped make this poem come to life!
In 2014 we included an updated version of The Wasteland as part of our first performance series at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, with original drawings and media from David Sorello, adding another layer to this beautiful poem.
Today in 2021 I’ve decided to visit this poem again. My performance work continues to evolve, and I don’t know yet what the next version might look like. New technology, current events, personal experiences—all this will make a mark on what will be onstage in spring 2022. I can’t wait to share it with you.
Founder and Executive Director