Tucked in the Golden Triangle between an automotive/mechanic store and residential homes, on March 13, 2014, Hannah Kahn welcomed Presenting Denver’s Executive Director, Meredith Hutson and me to her studio to watch her and her dancers practice and then granted us the opportunity of an interview.
Born in Ithaca, New York, Hannah moved to Denver in the 80’s. A successful NYC choreographer, Hannah began dancing at the age of six and has choreographed over 140 pieces. A prolific creator, she uses music as a muse as well as her physical desire to explore and move.
Her advise to aspiring young dancers is to rehearse at night and put on shows. She accords her success and ability to continue to dance to the love of her husband and his ability to provide while she pursues her dream. A mother of two, she has done it all with help and it wasn’t easy.
As a choreographer and dance company leader, Hannah looks for intelligence in her dancers. Her choreography is very complex. The most crucial thing is that dancers are interested in the work. She has an extreme diversity in body type and self-proclaims that her own body isn’t ideal for dance. The defining factor is grit. Having the drive to continue and to find the complexity and path of the piece sets Hannah apart from others. Producing your own work doesn’t guarantee that it will be easier next time. I have to do it myself. I choose it everyday.
A unique component of Hannah’s company is that it has an outreach program that offers workshops and performances for students. This outreach is part of received grant funding through the Denver Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). The SCFD is a special regional tax district within the State of Colorado that provides funding for dance and other arts. Writing grants is not easy and is quite time consuming, but it has been quite successful for Hannah and her ten dancers. Each year there are approximately 30 performances as part of this outreach. Typically, five dancers attend a performance and she has understudies for every role. This allows for life to happen without jeopardy to the final performance.
Dancers, friends, family and fans in Denver can welcome the opportunity see Hannah’s work, Cross Purposes and Other Dances on May 2nd and 3rd at the Lakewood Cultural Center. If you would like to experience her work performed to live music, Hannah Kahn Dance Company will be performing with the Colorado Wind Ensemble on May 15 at the Elaine Wolf Theater and on May 17 at the Lakewood Cultural Center.
Interested in dancing with Hannah? Auditions for men and women, Monday, May 5 from 1-4p. Call back, Tuesday, May 6 from 10a-3p. Ballet training is a plus.
Interested in dancing with Hannah as part of a class? Hannah teaches modern dance technique classes three times a week.
Celeste Davis Stragand: Published author, showcased artist and local Denverite, W. Celeste Davis Stragand is not new to the art world. Her passion for delving into the root of existence and movement will challenge and praise both choreographers and the audience. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Celeste holds two bachelor of arts degrees, one in Chemistry and the other in English. She is also a graduate of Naropa University holding a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing and Poetics from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. A former national slam team poet, Celeste is a graduate of the Downtown Denver Partnership Leadership Program and sits on the American Institute of Architects Colorado board. Her passion and enthusiasm for the kinetic arts will frolic and frenzy through the upcoming season of performances with many hopes for an encore!