Legacy, nature, spirituality, and artistic research combine in the multi-tiered project And the Spirit Moved Me, a new evening-length dance work by the Kristina Isabelle Dance Company. Inspired by modern dance master Sybil Shearer (1912-2005) and Isabelle’s personal explorations of nature and spirituality in the body, the project will result in both a new dance work and a greater appreciation of an important figure in dance history.
And the Spirit Moved Me incorporates a new theory of archiving through the body as a means of understanding and connecting the past with the future. Sybil Shearer was a rather reclusive artist, yet had great impact on those who saw her perform. Through this project, Isabelle will explore Shearer’s choreography, style, and voice, with the intention of bringing her process into the folds of her own body’s physical memory and shared interest in the ideas of nature and spirituality.
Isabelle’s project unites her love of dance with an appreciation of dance history, integrating the influence of another’s worldview into the body’s movement. Sybil Shearer repeatedly distinguished herself as one of the most free-spirited individuals to emerge from the early years of American modern dance. This work asks questions about her genius, and about artistic replication, while honoring an important movement legacy.
The final outcome of the project will be a multimedia performance, with photos by William Frederking, video by Octane Rich Media, set design by Grant Sabin, with dance and stilt-dance. Institutional Incubation at High Concept Labs offers the Kristina Isabelle Dance Company a full year of studio space to develop And the Spirit Moved Me, as well as work-in-progress showings and marketing support. And the Spirit Moved Me is also supported by the Morrison-Shearer Foundation, 3Arts, the Chicago Dance History Project, and the Newberry Library.
Kristina Isabelle Dance Company has a singular mission: to engage its audiences in a contemporary dance experience that combines serious-minded, rigorously technical movement with a groundbreaking, multidimensional approach and playful, unpredictable sense of humor. Many performances literally take the art form to new heights by incorporating dancers on stilts to create perspective-altering dancescapes.
Kristina Isabelle is a dancer, choreographer and teacher who is passionate about exploring the physicality of the body and its story-telling potential. She creates multimedia dance productions that sometimes integrate articulate dancing on stilts. She is the artistic director of Kristina Isabelle Dance Company and director of HighJinks Productions.
Kristina Isabelle Dance has performed nationally and internationally, most recently performing her work stilt dance work The Moving Target at Deventer Op Stelten Festival in The Netherlands. Isabelle earned her BFA in dance from The Juilliard School and an MFA in dance and choreography from The Ohio State University. She has performed with Bebe Miller, Stephen Petronio, Jordan Fuchs, Bob Eisen, Earth Circus Productions, and John Jasperse, She is working on her second project with visual artist Claudia Hart.
She is currently a High Concept Labs Institutional Incubation program artist for the 2015-2016 season. She was one of the Chicago DanceMakers Forum Lab Artist for 2012-2013 and a Pentacle Help Desk / Chicago artist 2013. Since moving to Chicago in 2011 she has shown her work at Links Hall, the MCA, Athenaeum, Biograph, the Art Institute and the Ruth Page Dance Center. Her work has also been produced in New York, San Francisco, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Fort Worth, England, Ireland and Poland at the Bytom International Dance Festival.
Alongside her professional work, Isabelle has also spent the last decade teaching dance, composing works, and constructing dance-related events for various universities, studios, and organizations. She has taught at Dovetail Studios, Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street, Visceral, OuterSpace and Aloft Circus Arts, where she continues to explore articulate dancing on stilts. She has also taught for After School Matters through Chicago Ballet. She is currently the Program Manager for the Chicago Teen Dance Festival that premiered at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in August 2015.
She was a finalist in the BalletMet choreographers project in 2004, 2006 and 2008 and was a resident choreographer for Columbus Dance Theatre for both the company and the Intensive Training Program. Most recently she created a work on The Thodos Dance Company for their New Dances Project in 2014 and Chicago Repertory Ballet in 2015.
She has served as a guest artist and adjunct professor for The Ohio State University, Kenyon College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Wittenberg University, Alfred University in New York, and The College of Lake County. She set new works at Columbia College and St. Mary’s College in 2014.
HighJinks Productions combines a wider variety of dance forms with traditional and contemporary circus arts to produce a unique type of entertainment that merges the best of both art forms. HighJinks has been seen at events throughout Chicago, Columbus, New York and nationally on MTV and in the Nuclear Cowboyz tour 2010 for Feld Entertainment. She is a featured performer at Angela Eve’s Unbridled at Untitled in Chicago.