GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

July 24, 2013

A real 'Quarry Dance'

Windhover goes for reality in new production

By Gail McCarthy
Staff Writer

---- — There are realistic sets – and then there are truly realistic sets.

In the wake of a successful dance performance on the edge of a quarry last year at Halibut Point State Park, Windhover Center for the Performing Arts is once again creating a breath-taking backdrop for a performance titled “Quarry Dance 2.”

The quarry and its surroundings — this time one of the private quarries of Lanesville — will become a stage, with special rigging designed for the dancers to make their entrance to a rock island in the middle of the quarry.

The performers are from the Dušan Týnek Dance Theatre, a contemporary dance company based in Brooklyn, which was recently named one of the top five New York City dance companies of the year by The New York Times.

The dance company has toured throughout the United States, Europe and Russia, but each summer for the past eight years, the dancers have traveled to this tiny corner of the world to perform at Windhover on its outdoor stage in Rockport. Now, for the second year in a row, the troupe will perform at a quarry in a community that, like Rockport, had a thriving quarry industry more than a century ago.

”It was so successful last year, we invited choreographer Dušan Týnek and his dance company to develop a second installment ...,” said Ina Hahn, the founder of Windhover about 45 years ago.

She said she dreamed up the idea of creating a dance performance at the site of a quarry to celebrate the natural beauty and history of quarries.

”I wanted to use a quarry to express how grateful we are to the all the quarry men who made these quarries a work of art even though they didn’t intend them to be. Not only are they a work of art but also treasures we enjoy in so many ways.”

This site-specific dance will be performed at the privately owned Valley Pit Quarry, located at 7 Leverett Street in Lanesville, Gloucester on Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27, at 5:30 p.m. The event is open to the public free of charge but contributions are welcome.

Tynek and his company are thrilled to have been invited to Cape Ann to create another “quarry dance.”

”We consider Cape Ann our summer home away from home that lets us be inspired and creative without the distractions and obstacles of our everyday lives in New York City,” he said. “We are hoping this is just the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration between us and the local community.”

Hahn noted that Valley Pit Quarry has a unique history because its former owner, the late Sylvester Ahola, a Lanesville native, was a famous musician of the 1920s and 1930s, when he played lead trumpet with more than a dozen big bands and made countless records. The story goes that, when he retired in the 1940s, he hosted sailing parties at the quarry as a way to celebrate the man-made wonders.

“The dance will move naturally through the environment using perspective and the unique architecture created by the granite ledges, overhangs, cracks, cliffs and terraces,” according to a press release outlining the piece. “The dancers will also be in contact with the water, using its sounds as an additional dimension to the dance.”

Chairs will be provided for the audience, but people are welcome to bring their own chairs too, as well as their own water and/or soft drinks. Parking is available at the Lanesville Congregational Church at 1120 Washington St. across from Leverett Street on both days. Parking is also available at the Lanesville Community Center at 8 Vulcan St. on Friday, July 26 only. Street parking is allowed on Emerald Street, as well as on one side of Washington Street. The performance will last about one hour.

Windhover is grateful to Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation for their support and funding, which made this event possible. The Rockport and Gloucester cultural councils and The Donor Advised Fund of the Boston Foundation also made contributions, as well as friends and supporters.

Windhover also wanted to thank the rock climber who will install the zip line, Doug Millen, who is president of Bay View Builders in Manchester. For more information, visit www.windhover.org.

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3445, or at gmccarthy@gloucestertimes.com.