Just when you thought life couldn’t get any interestinger, violinist Zack Kline, pianist Mike Vasich, and acoustic bassist Nicholas Gaudette decided to put together the Orange Mighty Trio and play some of the most innovative music imaginable. You name it, they can do it. From jazz to classical to bluegrass and back. (On occasion, all at the same time.) If that’s not enough, they’ve joined artistic forces with dance ensemble Maggie Bergeron and Company to perform the premiere of Wednesday Feels Like Tuesday at the Bryant-Lake Bowl. The collaboration, to quote the press kit, is “an evening-length, pseudo-scientific venture into the world of time and memory through melody, movement and shared space.” I don’t think anybody’ll fall asleep.
Both outfits are well accomplished. The Orange Mighty Trio have gigged to appreciative crowds at places like the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis and Martha’s Gardens in St. Paul. Their CDs are The Orange Mighty Trio (2007) and Infrastructure (2009). As Maggie Bergeron and Company, dancers Leslie O’Neill, Andrea Zimmerman, Mackenzie Beck-Esmay, and Maggie Bergeron have danced dramatically, theatrically, and abstractly in the Twin Cities for the past five years.
Maggie Bergeron and Nicholas Gaudette answered questions by e-mail about being creative partners for this event.
You started Maggie Bergeron and Company in 2007, wasn’t it? When did you begin choreographing and why?
Maggie Bergeron: I started my company in 2004 after I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in dance. I just couldn’t stop making dances. I took many composition classes at the U, and a part of me felt like something I had always tried to express was finally finding a voice. I think I really started choreographing when I was about seven years old and insisted on creating productions with my four-year-old brother and the neighbor kids. I’ve always been bossy and really physical, so choreography seemed to make sense to my brain and body as an outlet.
How did the Orange Mighty Trio come to your attention?
MB: In 2008, Nicholas Gaudette, a colleague of mine at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, handed me their EP. I was really struck with the sense of melody and timefulness the music had. I choreographed a dance with students for SPCPA’s graduation ceremony, where the OMT played live. I met Zack and Mike and we started talking about further collaboration.
Why did you guys decide to work with Maggie Bergeron?
Nicholas Gaudette: OMT has always taken pride in having [no] boundaries. Maggie Bergeron presented a musical, mental, and physical challenge which we gladly accepted. We created this collaboration on the ideal that we could share a stage and re-examine the role of musician and dancer.
OMT ever work with a dance company before?
NG: Our first experience was playing for the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists graduation in 2008 as well as 2009. The North Dakota Ballet Company also used one of our songs from our first recorded EP.
You guys write music specifically for Wednesday Feels Like Tuesday?
NG: Zack and I wrote a couple of new tunes for Wednesday Feels Like Tuesday. There are also tunes from our EP and our latest album, Infrastructure. Mike will also be playing a tune he wrote that has not appeared on any of our albums to date.
Maggie, why did you decide to work with the Orange Mighty Trio?
MB: I thrive on collaboration when making dances. I work closely with the dancers, almost always work with musicians, and often work with scenic designers and lighting designers. The OMT has music that is utterly danceable, and they were very open to my ideas of blurring the line between mover and musician. We are really exploring with the physicality of music and dance and what it means to get in each other’s space.
Exactly what moved you to create Wednesday Feels Like Tuesday?
MB: I love thinking about time and memory and how we remember what we see in sometimes a blurred, fuzzy way and sometimes a sharp, clear way. Zack happened to write a tune called “Wednesday Feels Like Tuesday,” and kapow! We had an idea we could run with.
Why perform it at Bryant-Lake?
MB: The BLB is so great because it forces a certain amount of intimacy with the audience so close to the performers. This is the same sort of intimacy we are exploring with the movement/music, so it felt right. The tight dimensions of the space also serve as a great challenge to me as a choreographer; it’s like a puzzle dealing with three musicians, four dancers, a piano and an upright bass.
Nicholas, what most intrigues you about this gig?
NG: As always, playing with my bandmates in the Orange Mighty Trio is a treat. But to collaborate with other performers in a different medium is a wonderful challenge physically and musically as a performer.
How have rehearsals been going?
NG: The processes of writing a song and choreographing a dance are very different. It’s a whole new language that melds dance and music together. For example, in the show, we play duets. However a duet in this collaborative term is a musician and a dancer paired together. In musicians’ terms, you would be playing a solo, but our music has to incorporate the dancer on the stage as a voice even though they are not making a sound. Really, it’s bending the ideas of sound and movement, space and time.
Any thoughts on working with Maggie Bergeron in the future?
NG: Absolutely. I am excited to perform the final product. We have already been talking about future collaborations.
Wednesday Feels Like Tuesday premieres January 17 at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at the Bryant-Lake Bowl. Call 612-825-8949 or visit bryantlakebowl.com for tickets.