This weekend Phantom Theater presents “Chimera.” A contemporary dance production that embodies hybridization as both a process and artistic production, “Chimera” features the restaged repertory of choreographers from multiple dance groups including Augmentation Movement Project and Reject Dance Theater.
Among the performers in “Chimera” is Waitsfield, VT, resident Larissa Ursprung. Ursprung’s dance career began in Houston, TX, at the High School for Performing and Visual Arts. She then went on to attend Harvard College and performed with and choreographed for the Harvard Ballet Company, Early Music Society, and Contemporary Dance Ensemble. In 2007 the Harvard Council on the Arts presented Ursprung with the Suzanne Farrell Award and an Artist Development Fellowship to participate in the José Limón Dance Company’s Professional Studies Program. Most recently Ursprung has collaborated with the Reject Dance Theater, performing shows throughout New England and as far abroad as London.
One of the features of “Chimera” is the premier of a collaborative piece created during Ursprung’s residency at Waitsfield’s recently-restored historic Stowell Farm barn. She attributed much of the inspiration behind “Chimera” to the barn itself. “It is as unique as it is inspiring,” Ursprung said. “In places where the original timber frame was no longer sound, Eliot Lothrop (Building Heritage) meticulously joined newly-hewn lumber to the original structure, lending to an interesting dual-tone appearance. It got me thinking about other kinds of hybridization and that is how we landed on “Chimera” as the name of the project. We are combining new and old creative materials in a simultaneously new and old barn. It feels fitting that this kick-off artistic residency in our Stowell Farm barn will be performed at Phantom Theater’s newer old barn,” she said.
Living in the Mad River Valley has also had a profound effect on Ursprung’s creative energy, she said. “I was floored by how much art there is in Vermont, and the Mad River Valley in particular. I love visiting the East Warren Community Market, walking through the art gallery at Lareau Farm, and going to the Roundup by the River on Wednesdays. I wanted to be a part of this vibrant community.”
The opportunity to perform in front of a live audience again is something that Ursprung appreciates, deeply. “Not long ago, returning to in-person creation and performance seemed an unrealizable dream, so above all “Chimera” celebrates bringing together artistic bodies and minds long separated by circumstance.”
“Chimera” will be performed at Phantom Theater July 22 and July 23 at 8 p.m. For more information and ticket availability please visit the website, phantomtheater.org