Vermont Arts Council

The People’s Choice Award: Anne Connor

24: Anne Connor

OWC Performance Collaboration

Create a multidisciplinary performance for the Old West Church 200th anniversary in Calais, VT

Anne has an eclectic background in performance and production. Growing up in a Bronx Irish culture to first generation immigrants, Anne was influenced by Irish dance, singing, music, and performing in feis competitions. She participated in the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education Program engaging teachers and performers from throughout the tri-state area. Anne participates in local theater and sings regularly with the Old West Church Choir for the last 22 years.

Willow Wonder is a dancer and choreographer. She graduated from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance in 1998 with a BFA in Modern Dance Performance. She has been teaching, choreographing and performing ever since. Over the past 10 years she has been performing improvisationally in dance pieces created by VT based choreographers such as Polly Motley, Hannah Dennison, Paul Besaw and Pauline Jennings. Many of the pieces have been site-specific; meaning performed outside or in a non-traditional performance space.

Project description

Anne Connor and Willow Wonder will create a multidisciplinary performance that includes dance, music, and spoken word that honors the Old West Church in Calais VT. The town is celebrating 200 years of the church’s existence from the first groundbreaking to the opening service over a three-year period. We will include community members in the performance who would like to join in the movement, chorus, and speaking parts. The Old West Church itself will be included as a “”performer”” as the centerpiece of the dance and action. The audience will move with the story starting outside on the lawn and ending up inside the church at dusk. We will have 4-6 performances in August of 2024 and will hire videographers to have a living document of the performance.

We wish to create a work that honors the history of the church as well as the land upon which it sits. There is such a strong sense of place and rootedness in the church, under the church, in the ground and in the very air inside the church that is filled with movement and the life energy of all that has happened in that space for 200 years. The community sings there, we worship there, we listen to and play beautiful music there – what would it be like to bring movement to the space? We see the church itself as a principal in the dance/performance and the audience and performers are there to honor and celebrate the life that is inherent in the church. We would like all participants to really feel into the space somatically and let the energy and movement move through our bodies. The audience will be part of the movement as well since they will be asked to move from place to place on the grounds of the church, and then into the church, allowing themselves to feel in their own bodies the movement that comes from this sacred space.

Media Sample 1

Media Sample 2

Media Sample 3

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Acadia Klepeis August 16, 2023