Biannual theater performance features renowned dancers over 40
Beth Corning’s “with a shadow of…” is the latest in the GLUE FACTORY PROJECT series, which features biannual performances by renowned dancers over the age of 40.
By Ashlee Green
Beth Corning, artistic director, choreographer, dancer, and founder of CORNINGWORKS, brought her full evening length production, “with a shadow of…”, to the New Hazlett Theater March 27 to 31.
“with a shadow of…” explored what Corning described as “some sort of NTSD—NOW TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER, no longer POST” that comes from negative news headlines and a “growing communal isolation” in the world. The show was the spring season production of the GLUE FACTORY PROJECT, which began in 2000 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Janis Brenner, David Dorfman, Catherine Meredith, and Corning starred in the Pittsburgh production, and like all of Corning’s GLUE FACTORY PROJECT performers, the dancers are internationally and nationally renowned and over the age of 40.
“I didn’t realize that I started a company to have a community,” Corning said.
When she was a part of a company previous to CORNINGWORKS, Corning said that younger dancers saw her as a boss rather than a peer. She also found herself choreographing dances to please younger dancers instead of building works that addressed women like her and the changes they were experiencing. Corning came to a point where she was no longer interested in competing with people for commissions, and with that, CORNINGWORKS was born.
“The field [of dance] itself said, ‘At 42, women better retire,’” said Corning. “I was young, but somehow I was old in the field.” Her idea for THE GLUE FACTORY PROJECT came as an aesthetic choice, and not because she doesn’t like young dancers. Younger dancers, she said, offer a degree of novelty, but she wanted to work with performers with more depth, who like her, can “say a billion things in one gesture.”
“Not only do I have the technical skills,” she said, “I have layers of interesting life that’s just going to keep getting more and more potent, richer, deeper, and certainly more interesting for the audience.”
Corning, who ran the former Dance Alloy Theater for six years in the early 2000s, said she has worked with The New Hazlett since it updated its name from The Hazlett Theater in 2004, and loves the rawness and intimacy of the space.
“There are no blind spots,” she said. “It’s a place where my imagination can soar as a creator.”
CORNINGWORKS creates and produces two full evening length productions each year, one in the spring, and one in the fall. Performances are typically hour-long works arranged on a theme. For more information and for details about upcoming performances, visit www.corningworks.org.