Growing Kansas: The Newsletter
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Regina Klenjoski Dance Company is a critically acclaimed modern dance company founded in Los Angeles in 1999 and expanded to Wichita, KS in 2014. RKDC has been captivating audiences with inventive choreography, fierce athleticism and poetic storytelling through the company’s repertory of 37 works which include evening-length works, dance film and site-specific installations. Under the artistic direction of Ms. Klenjoski, the company of five professional dancers along with an impressive roster of collaborating artists, continue to create and perform diverse, social, political, abstract and concept-based contemporary dance theater and tour regionally, nationally and internationally. RKDC is fiercely dedicated to enriching their home communities by presenting thoughtful and entertaining repertory and educational programming that engages a diverse audience in the company’s hometown of Wichita, KS and on tour.
Regina Klenjoski Dance Company offers their latest full work, “Far From Home” for tour. “Far From Home” is a personal yet universal journey through the themes of migration. Commitment, opportunity, assimilation, roots, loss, faith, and home are explored through seven sections of dance, film, original music, and poetry. Klenjoski’s research for this work began with the story of her parents and their journey from Macedonia to America almost 50 years ago. Their story is but one of millions in our country. The emotional journey in the human experience of leaving home is profoundly universal. “Far From Home” is a beautiful piece of dance theater with the inspiring goal of recognizing the strength of our diverse community near and far, past, present, and future, and a reminder to fill our cups with compassion, empathy, and understanding for our fellow human beings. The work opens with a documentary by Jake Simms that interrogates the immigration experience through the personal stories of six Wichita residents and features an original musical score by Macedonian composer Toni Kitanovski. “Far From Home” is performed by 5 dancers and one violist.
Share Your Story through Poetry and Dance: Now more than ever, we need fresh tools to bring communities together to increase empathy and lessen the divide around the topic of immigration. Based on a successful series of community workshops funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and Mid-America Arts Alliance the company offers this 3-hour workshop.
The workshop will provide participants with a community art-making opportunity that brings together immigrants and non-immigrants in a space where they can safely explore personal stories and be heard. Through poetry and creative writing, participants will be guided in writing a poem about the places, people, foods, and personal journeys they associate with the larger theme of home. After being led in simple warm-up exercises designed for all abilities, participants will then be guided to create movement sequences from the written poetry, offering a physical expression and embodiment of their memories and emotions. Klenjoski introduces participants to gestural work, a method that is at the core of Klenjoski’s creative process. The workshop will culminate in a sharing and reflective discussion on the group’s experience. The workshop is followed by a meal donated by a local restaurant, where participants break bread together and soften the boundaries between them through a sense of community.
This workshop includes 2 professional artist facilitators and 5 dancers who assist with leading breakout groups and activities throughout the workshop.
Far From Home Activities available for students:
Share Your Story through Poetry and Dance Workshop: This workshop follows the same format as the community workshop and can be adapted for different groups: Elementary, Middle School, High School, collegiate, and special groups in corporate and organizational settings.
Master classes with choreographer Regina Klenjoski in creative movement, contemporary/modern dance, dance composition, and improvisation.
“In my technique classes, I draw upon my background in Limon and release work training, contact improvisation, ballet, high-velocity inversion methods, and somatic practices grounded in Bartenieff Fundamentals and Laban Movement Analysis. Classes emphasize improvisation, fluidity, dynamic alignment, a strong understanding of weight, precision with a sense of ease, and flow. We explore varied musical meters, movement through the five levels of space (floor, low, mid, high, air), body intelligence through somatic perspectives and principles of opposition.” – Regina Klenjoski
Lecture demonstration: RKDC and dancers perform a 45-minute lecture-demonstration of “Far From Home” that includes a discussion on the inspiration, development, and performance of the work as well as live performance of excerpts of “Far From Home.” The event concludes with a 10-15 min Q&A between the students and the artists. The lecture-demonstration content is carefully curated depending on the audience’s age and experience with professional concert dance. The lecture-demonstration includes the artistic director, Regina Klenjoski, and 5 dancers. It is a 45-minute presentation, followed by a 15-minute Q&A session, for a total of one hour.