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Monday, March 3, 2014


        The city of Tacoma boasts its own treasure chest of jewels, known as the Museum of Glass. Into the midst of all that color and sparkle will soon come the artistic element of motion. It arrives as a special Art Inspires Art event on Saturday, March 8, sponsored by Dance Theatre Northwest and titled “TRIBUTE: Tradition in Translation." DTN’s Artistic Director Melanie Kirk-Stauffer has interpreted the glass museum’s current exhibitions as dances. Paid admission to the museum includes the opportunity to see seven FREE performances of classical and contemporary ballet and jazz by the DTN dance artists, which will accompany Kirk-Stauffer's slide show and lecture on how the art of glass inspired her own art of choreography. Performances begin at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Prepare to be dazzled by what Kirk-Stauffer calls “dance illuminations.”

       “Years ago as part of a formal study of aesthetics,” Kirk-Stauffer said, “I was given the assignment of researching, then writing, the ‘definition of beauty.’ Eights weeks later, I completed my personal definition with the realization that a universal theme had emerged from first glance to in-depth contemplation, for every work of art. Rhythm, line, color or reflection of light, repetition, perspective and personal awareness come into play in the creation of things delightful, entrancing, captivating, elusive, hypnotic, mysterious, or transitory.”
       My Webster’s dictionary defines beauty as “the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit” and the word illuminate as “to enlighten spiritually or intellectually.” Both of those words relate to the exhibits and the dances they’ve inspired. Kirk-Stauffer says her “dance illumination” presentations provide the opportunity to share insights into how she translates ideas, creations, sounds, and rhythms into dance.

       The title feature of the “TRIBUTE: Tradition in Translation” show is a ballet in four parts, and its name reflects the name of the exhibit called “Caution! Fragile. Irish Glass: Tradition In Transition.” This exhibit explores the past, present, and future of Irish glass through the work of glass artists Róisín de Buitléar and Fred Curtis. 
        Dale Chilhuly’s Irish Cylinders, and glass artists Dante Marioni, Anna Skibska, Ben Edols, Kathy Elliott, and Kelly Knickerbocker, inspired Kirk-Stauffer to choreograph other dances performed at this event, as did an exhibit of exquisite blue and green Czechoslovakian glass perfume bottles and bedroom accessories from the 1920s and ‘30s called “Bohemian Boudoir.” 

Dance Theatre Northwest's delightful contribution to this Family Day at the museum offers programs at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., which each last about one hour. They will include jazz and ballet pieces already in the Dance Theatre Northwest repertoire as well as those inspired by the exhibits. In addition to the “TRIBUTE” ballet, visitors will see:

Capriccio One (duet)
Capriccio Two (five dancers)
Man on the Street (jazz)
Fire To Rain (Lauren Trodahl- contemporary ballet)
One Voice (Allison Zakharov - contemporary ballet)
We Didn't Start The Fire (jazz)
Nite Lites (jazz) 

Featured performers will be Chhay Mam, Allison Zakharov, Lauren Trodahl, Amelia Arial, Oceana Thunder, Solana Sartain, and Gregory Peloquin. 

For more information: 
Dance Theatre Northwest website is, phone 253-778-6534 
Museum of Glass website is, phone (866) 468-7386 

Location:1801 Dock Street
Tacoma, Washington 98402-3217
All photos by Maks Zakharvo courtesy of Dance Theatre Northwest.

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