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New Moves

Penelope Freeh and Megan Mayer on tutus, taboos, and what to call their upcoming dance works at the Southern Theater

New Moves
Photo by Todd Buchanan

Q: What three words describe your choreography?
FREEH: Musical.
MAYER: That’s one. Humorous. Um, where are those drinks?

Q: Megan, your new show channels foreign films by way of Lawrence Welk. Explain.
MM: I’m inspired by scenes from Fellini and Truffaut and the kind of cheesy formality of the old Lawrence Welk Show, which in its way was a precursor to music videos.

Q: Penny, you’re dangling dancers by their wrists over a balcony.
PF: My show is about taking risks with your heart, and I used the balcony when the work premiered at a different venue. I’m eyeing the catwalk at the Southern.

Q: What do you think is accessible about these works?
PF: It’s highly physical, and we wear gorilla masks!
MM: For me, it’s humor and pop music.
PF: But really, accessible has become almost a four-letter word in art, like you’re dumbing it down.
MM: The doorways in might be familiar feelings, not movements. It’s very hard to come up with words to describe the work: I don’t think of it as modern dance, and performance art doesn’t sound very appealing. It’s post-to-the-fourth-power-modern.

Q: When’s the last time you wore a tutu?
PR: December—I was Sugar Plum in The Nutcracker.
MM: I’ve never worn a tutu and secretly want to.

Q: When do your ideas come to you?
PF: While showering and driving.
MM: Forget texting while driving, the legislature really needs to look at choreography while driving.

June 17-19, Southern Theater, Mpls., southerntheater.org

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