With "House Happening," Project: Motion goes where no contemporary dance company has gone before: Victorian Village. Attendees will take docent-guided walking tours of the Woodruff-Fontaine House, stopping occasionally to view original works of dance that are responsive to the mansion, the neighborhood, and the buttoned-up era for which the district is named.
"As much as possible we want to take dance out of the theater and bring it to the people," says dancer/choreographer Louisa Koeppel, whose contribution to the evening reflects a period from the 1920s to the '50s, when the Fontaine and Lee houses comprised the campus for what would become the Memphis College of Art.
"There was art all over this corner," says Koeppel, whose work is informed both by interviews with Memphis artists and Joann Self Selvidge's documentary The Art Academy.
"I make a kind of human map of the Fontaine house and the Lee house," says Koeppel, who will perform in the carriage house, where the art students would have eaten their lunches.
Koeppel's subject matter provided plenty of inspiration. "In the downstairs of the James Lee House, the art students would have these giant masquerade balls," she says. "They would choose a theme, hang paper on the walls and create these amazing drawings. Something inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec or Alice in Wonderland. Fascinating stuff."
Other works range from a meditation on constriction and the Victorian standard to a piece about a secret society of women, beginning suffragettes.
Project: Motion presents House Happening at the Woodruff-Fontaine House, Friday-sunday, May 17th-19th. $25 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under. Due to the guided-tour nature of the performance, tickets are limited. for more information, Call 214-LEAP.