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Student Takes Dance To New Height

March 05, 1986|EILEEN SONDAK

SAN DIEGO — Kate Lounsbury has been both a participant and an aficionado of local dance for six years.

But when she decided to orchestrate a dance concert of her own, Lounsbury disregarded the familiar dance program formula and pursued her personal vision of the art form.

Consequently, her evening-long work, dubbed "This is Your Ticket: Dance, Media and Environment," which premieres this weekend under the auspices of San Diego State University's Choreographers Ensemble, will be anything but ordinary by San Diego standards.

"I wanted to see more in a dance concert than just what we see all the time," Lounsbury said.

"I wanted to bring in other art forms--other artists I have respected for a long time--so dance could be seen within a bigger picture. It meant the use of more multimedia, and just reaching beyond what's already been done."

With support from a few kindred spirits and the SDSU dance faculty, Lounsbury's initial idea germinated into an idiosyncratic mix of modern movement, still and video photography, and live music. Two performances will be at SDSU's Women's Gym Studio Theatre, tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Lounsbury undertook the project as part of the requirements for her degree (she is a dance major at SDSU), and her first move was to lure dancer-choreographer Christa E. Wellhausen as co-choreographer.

"I brought in Christa because I loved her choreography," Lounsbury said. "Then we decided on Cathy Mullins for the visual effects. Of course, we knew we couldn't do what we wanted without original music, so we asked Bruce Kamolnick to get involved.

"There was no money in it for any of us, so how did we get Bruce interested? It wasn't hard at all. He was just as excited about the concept as we were."

"This Is Your Ticket" will take its audiences beyond the traditional concert environment and into the great outdoors for part of the performance. This artistic device is seldom incorporated in local dance events.

"We'll start out in the square between the Dramatic Arts Building and the gym," said Lounsbury. "Nature is an ingredient in the piece, and we'll include the trees in our designs. We see the work as going from a state of disorganization to a state of organization--a natural evolution."

More than two decades ago, experimenting post-modernists such as Twyla Tharp, Lucinda Childs and Meredith Monk moved outside the conventional concert environment to make mixed-media dances that stretched the boundaries of the art form. And there's a '60s feeling to this collaborative effort, with its integration of art forms and its novel juxtaposition of indoor and outdoor space.

But Lounsbury is quick to remind people that "we don't want to go back to that time. We're more technical now, and our dancers are better trained than many of those (post-modernists). We can't go back, but we can use the methods they discovered."

Lounsbury got hooked on nontraditional dance perspectives while working with Pat Sandback on "Open Windows, Closed Doors" (a performance art piece that premiered at Sushi and is scheduled for a New York debut this summer at Cunningham Studio).

"It really turned me on, seeing dance in other ways--not just in a polished setting on a formal stage," Lounsbury said. "It showed me the possibilities--just how important a part perspective plays in viewing a concert. Things change a lot, depending on where you are when you see the piece."

Lounsbury views the program as a single piece, although it will unfold as a series of separate groupings--featuring one, three, five, or as many as a dozen dancers at a time.

What will happen if rain forces cancellation of the outdoor portion of the program?

"If it rains, we'll just go to Plan B," she said coyly.

Although George Willis, chairman of the SDSU dance program, sees "plenty of promise" in Lounsbury's work, this independent woman has no intention of turning out dance works on a regular basis.

"I'm tired of seeing schlock," she complained. "I don't want to contribute to it."

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