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Pucker up for First Kiss performances at Mission Creek


First Kiss participant Jen Shook at the UIowa Museum of Natural History — photo by JoJo Baccam
First Kiss participant Jen Shook at the UIowa Museum of Natural History — photo by JoJo Baccam

First Kiss

Old Capitol Mall food court — Thursday, April 2, 7 p.m.

Collaborative performances are the order of the day on Thursday night in the Old Capitol Mall food court, when seven pairs of performers will pair their acts for First Kiss as part of Mission Creek. This is Mission Creek’s tenth year as a festival, but the first year of First Kiss.

First Kiss is a show of public performances with duos who are working together for the first time. Their expertise and fields of practice range from music and dance, to physics and industrial engineering.

“I always enjoy working with dancers because they bring a different perspective on performance than a musician, which is very refreshing,” Andrew Thierauf said.

Thierauf, a percussionist and composer, and choreographer Charlotte Adams will present “No Free Lunch” with three dancers: Emily Climer, Erin Corcoran and Kathryn Skinner.

“You can expect a very physical dance performance by Emily, Erin and Katie,” Adams said. “It’s oddly humorous, political, and visually delightful piece on the east staircase with the ‘haves’ at the top and the ‘have-nots’ at the bottom.”

She said the work is meant to address the corporatization of higher education engaged in a scramble for power and money.

Jen Shook said the title of the program, First Kiss, is a hint at “the unpredictable possibly magical potential of the new partnership” between the duos.

Jen Shook, left, and Heidi Wiren Bartlett at a rehearsal for their First Kiss —photo by JoJo Baccam
Jen Shook, left, and Heidi Wiren Bartlett at a rehearsal for their First Kiss —photo by JoJo Baccam

“It’s a chance to find the unexpected, to get out of our boxes, to play with new ideas and new toys,” Shook explained.

“Both of us come from the intersections between art forms, but still have different backgrounds, different training and different habits,” she said. Because they knew each other’s work, trust was already established even though they had never worked together.

Shook said First Kiss will be a kind of cabaret in the food court of the Old Capitol Mall.

Mark NeuCollins, an adjunct assistant professor in the Intermedia art department, said First Kiss grew out of previous programs organized in conjunction with the University of Iowa Museum of Art that paired first-time collaborators for performances.

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“The idea of First Kiss was to expand upon previous programs by involving a broader range of participants from a broader range of disciplines and presenting it in a more public space,” he said.

The experimental works will start at 7 p.m. and the event is free to the public.

Jen Shook ruffling feathers in the UIowa Museum of Natural History — photo by JoJo Baccam
Jen Shook ruffling feathers in the UIowa Museum of Natural History — photo by JoJo Baccam


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