No two art forms are more intertwined than dance and music. They exist independently, of course, but they also inform, inspire and transform each other, as seen Saturday evening at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis.

The Hear Here! festival curated by choreographer Maggie Bergeron and musician Nicholas Gaudette celebrated the spontaneous and innovative aspects of the relationship between live music and movement.

Choreographer Margaret Ogas and composer Ivan Cunningham set the tone with “Last week I went to Cub Foods and I cried in the condiments aisle.” The young talents (Ogas studies at the University of Minnesota and Cunningham just graduated from the Perpich Arts High School in Golden Valley) showed a penchant for fun (kazoos in the house!) as well as budding self-awareness.

Cunningham, an alto sax player, led his sophisticated jazz ensemble into some daring territory, truly beyond his years. Ogas played it safe with her choreographic choices exploring the dichotomy between public and private life, but seems poised to break out of the mold. When improvisation entered the mix, she found a deeper groove with her three dancers.

Surely one of the year’s collaborative highlights, “Getting’ to it” by choreographer Sharon Picasso and DJ Queen Drea explored how barriers in daily life hinder the creative process (but can also inspire it, judging from this piece). With a recurring chant of “Cry, laugh, sleep, wake up, get back to it,” the duo delivered an electrifying tour through the ups (laughing kids) and downs (spreadsheets) of a day.

Picasso’s effervescent dancing proved an ideal match for Queen Drea’s hypnotic beats. Video and party lights added to the vibe of constant activity, as if these elements were wired into the artists’ brain waves.

Bergeron and Gaudette’s “Trees for the forest” closed the evening with an absorbing visit into the secret lives of verdant, breathing organisms. The eight-piece musical ensemble fully realized Gaudette’s virtuosic soundscape and enveloped the stellar cast of veteran movers into a magical place.

It was exciting to see some of the Twin Cities’ best veteran movers on stage, including Laura Selle Virtucio, Roxane Wallace and Leslie O’Neill. Together they and the other dancers generated the feel of a fully integrated ecosystem, showcasing how movement and music not only complement each other, but can transport us into vibrant new worlds.


Caroline Palmer is a Twin Cities dance critic.