A Performance to See: Dancescape 2019 at Winona State

There is nothing better than a dance production. I loved watching Dance Moms growing up as a kid, so naturally, seeing Dancescape at my university was something I was already interested in. I was personally in last year’s production of Dancescape, and I know that the production is based in modern dance. The themes of the dances are all incredibly different and can get a little bit weird for some viewers.


I took over three hundred pictures between two rehearsals that I got the chance to observe. I edited every image I sent the campus theatre and dance department, so it took some time.


I got an inside scoop from one of the dancers from the show itself! I was able to ask a few questions via email to Winona State sophomore, Janae Mann.


Janae Mann is a sophomore majoring in marketing and pre-law, while minoring in creative writing. Mann has been dancing for 5 years. She has been involved in other dance productions at Winona State as well, such as Dancescape 2018 and the Senior Spring show. Her favorite piece was choreographed by Winona State’s Professor Erin Drummond called We Heard Them Speak These Paths in Air.


Janae is in the center, dressed in yellow.


Mann also choreographed I Give My World to You, which included a projection film of dance with a conversation that added to her dance’s theme.


JM: “I wanted to implement the element of videography in this piece because I wanted to make use of a different type of ‘prop’ that isn't as widely used. Using spoken word combined with videography to explore issues that are very present in our society today to spark conversation is something that I wanted to achieve through my choreography and art.”


All of the pieces have something unique, whether it’s the message or theme of colors, props, etc. One of the biggest dances that caught my eye was Gowns & Suits choreographed by Erin Drummond. Winona State junior, Tatum Reitter, appeared wearing a princess-like pink dress. She walked around elegantly at first, but as the piece continued, the song became eerie and some of the movements became hauntingly beautiful. For example, one of the weirdest things in this dance was watching Winona State junior, Katie Mullenbach, eat paper… or at least stuff paper in her mouth.



Another dance that caught my eye was: In_Our_Current_State, choreographed by Winona State sophomore, Wesley Holm. Holm seems to address a technology problem in this piece, where Winona State first-year student, Kenzie Duncan, shouts sayings at other dancers in the piece about being in control. Throughout the piece, technological sounds are heard, such as phone alerts or static.



Roses Are Red, choreographed by guest artist Lisa Kusanagi, left me speechless. The piece was centered on women, making a point about our society. The piece began with a group of girls that were dancing to salsa-like music. They looked happy: smiling and laughing and interacting with each other.



This changed, however, and the piece got dark. At first, they took off their bras.



It wasn’t like a strip—it was subtle—but each girl seemed to go through something different. One seemed to show sadness, who was throwing petals off her rose.



Another girl seemed to show sadness in the piece via unfamiliarity.



The end of the piece made things look back to normal, making me think it wasn’t over, and that it was a continuous loop. I wasn’t sure if it was a statement regarding the vicious cycle of prostitution or how females truly are versus how they should act in society.


I’d say Dancescape 2019 was a success. I loved the energy dancers brought and many pieces left me with thought-provoking questions, which makes the performance even better to watch. The performance was worth it, and if you missed it at Winona State this year, it’ll happen again next year!



JM: “The process of Dancescape is an interactive and learning process. It really establishes a sense of community as we meet as a full cast continuously starting in October or November up until the show, with feedback showings. It's a great opportunity to showcase student and faculty choreography, while providing feedback to each other.”