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Kanopy Dance Company (Madison, WI)

Hailed by critics as “soulfully fearless," “a creative triumph,” and providing a “rivetingly bold evening of contemplative dance theater," Kanopy Dance Company's expressionistic and emotionally charged works combine the dramatic physical integrity of modern dance and contemporary ballet with dance-theater.  The company’s repertory features works by its Artistic Directors, as well as local, regional, national and international choreographers, all linked by the desire to create thought-provoking dance that is elegant, bold, humorous, even romantic--and always compelling. Founded in 1976, Kanopy has been under the artistic direction of Robert E. Cleary and Lisa Thurrell since 1995.

“a powerful, sophisticated program and commanding performances.”-- Karynn Saemann, Capital Times (2013)

“... a rivetingly bold evening of contemplative dance theater... the Graham-inspired dancing was excellent as expected. What really shone was the ability of the dancers not just to move, but to also successfully pull off the choreography’s exhausting, often wrenching emotional demands and intensely serious mood.” - -Karynn Saemann, Capital Times (2010)

Touring Programs

Kanopy Dance Company has both Dance and Dance-Theater touring options. Kanopy Dance Company’s Dance-Theater programs are suited for larger venues while its Signature Dance is the perfect choice for smaller or midsize venues. Presenters may choose from either and the company will tailor to their programming needs.

Kanopy is well equipped to present Dance and Physical Theater residencies, master classes, and lecture demonstrations suited to the needs of a variety of age groups and curriculums (K-12 and University/College programming).

Tours with 6-10 dancers

Dance-Theatre Touring Programs (10 dancers):

“Monkey see, monkey do”
This evening length dance-physical theatre work is entertaining, humorous, creepy and a bit film noir. Created by Amit Lahav, Artistic Director, Gecko Physical Theater, from the United Kingdom.

“...the unsettling macabre story of a scientist who kidnaps a girl in order to transplant her good soul into a woman whose soul is rotten. Among the great moments: Robert Cleary 's darkly hilarious portrayal of a desk clerk in police precinct-like building, where a couple comes looking for their missing daughter; the emotional depths plumbed by all of the lead actor-dancers, as they struggled with deep feelings of loss, desire and guilt; and the quirky frenzy of news reporters as they skipped and salivated over a potentially juicy story...” -– Karyn Saemann, Capital Times (2011)

In this evening-length telling of Antigone, Thurrell has chosen a non-linear path of images, metaphors and states of being. Antigone is a story of war, death, hubris, and rule of law. It is a story of protest, by a young woman against the state. Rather than tell the story from start to finish, chosen moments, motivations, and emotions are explored in the unfolding of Antigone. Thurrell also reveals “women of war” who throughout history lament sons, fathers, and husbands. Created by Lisa Thurrell, Co Artistic Director, Kanopy Dance Company.

“I was struck by how she told Sophocles' tragedy in a non-linear way. The dancing isn't bogged down with a predictable retelling, yet the tale makes a clear and profound mark. Thurrell creates snapshots of these dramatic moments. Kopulos is striking as Creon, mouthing unjust words while ignoring the situation he has created. Antigone, played by the always-excellent Sierra Kay Powell, hurls herself at her oppressors while a chorus of women react to the horrors of war. Again and again Antigone faces the audience, one arm reaching to the sky, the other to the earth. Her standing leg is firmly planted while her other leg is bent high and to the side. It is a statement of defiance and strength that really resonates when echoed by the chorus. The original score by Vicky Tzoumerka-Knoedler is haunting as well. Sections that include plaintive statements in Greek are unsettling, which suits and supports the piece.” – Katie Riser, Isthmus/The Daily Page (2013)

Dance Touring Program:

Signature Dance
Kanopy Dance Company’s Signature Dance showcases a collection of works from the past 18 years created for Kanopy by its Artistic Directors and guest artists. Works include:

“This is Not America”
A ballad for our time - Ensemble: 3 men and 1 woman.

“Partita & Chorales”
A classical modern dance, lush and painterly; uplifting - Ensemble: 6-10 men and women.

“Cassandra’s Cry”
Steeped in Graham-inspired energy; mythic Cassandra, has the gift of prophecy, but cursed so no one will believe - Ensemble: 3 women.

“End Times.... Ebullient Machine”
About Chaos and Redemption with original music and featuring contemporary ballet mixed with raw and physical post modernism. "The sun stops. It is a minute past noon. Immediately, everything built by man collapses on the living and buries them. Only that which has a semblance of mechanical life lasts two seconds more. We see trains roll to the end of their course, machines turning empty, planes falling like dead leaves..." from a 1916 poem by Frédéric Sauser, pseudonym Blaise Cendrars. – Ensemble: 6-10 men and women.

Performance Calendar



Art Fair On the Square MMOCA, Madison, WI



Graham Workshop/re-staging residency Workshop Showing,
Kanopy Studio, Madison, WI



Residency and performances,
Madison Public Schools, Madison, WI



“Vision, Faith, Desire:Dancemakers Inspired by Martha Graham”
Ruth Page Theatre, Chicago, IL



Season Opener “Martha Graham: Reverence”
Overture Center for the Arts, Madison, WI



Showcase, APAP, NYC



Season “Puppet Master: Heavy Metal Dance”,
Overture Center for the Arts, Madison, WI



Season Closer “Fresh.Organic.Local”,
Overture Center for the Arts, Madison, WI



Minnesota Dance Festival, Mpls, MN

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National Boutique Roster:

Astra Dance Company

Embodiment Project

Groundworks Dance Theatre

Kanopy Dance Company

L.A. Contemporary Dance Co.


Missouri Contemporary Ballet

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