Heidi Latsky Dance in Gimp

FISA Foundation in collaboration with Pittsburgh Dance Council, a division of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and August Wilson Center for African American Culture announces the Pittsburgh premiere of Heidi Latsky Dance in GIMP on Saturday, October 15, 2011, at 8:00 p.m., at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, 980 Liberty Avenue, downtown Pittsburgh. Heidi Latsky’s GIMP is a special performance in celebration and honor of the FISA Foundation’s 100th anniversary. “GIMP is without a doubt a gleaming milestone in the progress of contemporary dance and theater, proving that the term ‘disabled dancer’ is an oxymoron.” (Dance Magazine)

Tickets ($15) may be purchased at the Box Office at Theater Square (655 Penn Avenue, downtown Pittsburgh), online at www.pgharts.org/GIMP or by calling (412) 456-6666. For more information about accessibility, and to request accommodations, please call (412) 456-2670 or email: customerservice@pgharts.org.

Artistic Director Heidi Latsky began her career by forming her first dance revue company, Footlite Dance Theater, in 1982. She was a longtime principal member of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance. In 2001, Ms. Latsky founded the New York-based modern dance company, Heidi Latsky Dance and since then has created more than 15 works for her company as well as numerous works for dance festivals around the world. According to the Dance Insider, “Heidi Latsky is a force of nature. This woman can slice and balance, slash and burn her way through movement like nobody’s business.” (Dance Insider)

Ms. Latsky developed her own unique dance philosophy workshop, The Latsky Method, which she has used for more than 20 years, in order to share and teach her philosophy of movement that encourages insight and healing. The objective of The Latsky Method is to teach students to listen to their bodies and to organize the body for ease of movement, full diaphragmatic breathing, and lastly, circulation and depth of expression.

Heidi Latsky Dance is a company dedicated to creating passionate, highly technical and physically adventurous dance. They believe differences should be embraced, and one should value the body in order to express feelings through dance. The company has created a dynamic audience of all ages through their encouragement of community involvement. Heidi Latsky Dance has collaborated with various social service and humanitarian organizations as a result of Latsky’s mission to explore and express the human condition through movement. Heidi Latsky was the recipient of the Scripps/ADF Primus-Tamaris Fellowship for Choreography (1997); Point Park University (Pittsburgh, PA) McGinnis Lectureship Award (2000); and received nominations for New York Innovative Theatre Award, and IT Award for Best Performance Art Production (2005). www.heidilatskydance.net

GIMP, a project of Creative Capital, was created during the fall of 2006 through Latsky’s intensive period of creation with bi-lateral amputee, Lisa Bufano. “Gimp” is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as: 1. a ribbon like, braided fabric, 2. fighting spirit; vigor, 3. a lame person, 4. slang; a halting, lame walk, and 5. to turn, vacillate. Latsky’s choreography GIMP embraces these definitions, and brings the audience an instinctive and emotional experience. Latsky’s performers, with and without disabilities, challenge the audience to reevaluate their preconceived notions about dance, performance, and body image. GIMP is simply about the beauty that arises from the ultimate sexiness of daring and utter commitment. GIMP is an analysis that dives into the heart of diversity and the unexpected.

The prologue for GIMP is a live sculptural representation of Oxford’s “ribbon like, braided fabric” definition. Two aerialists work with hanging silks in order to create a constant interwoven world for themselves. In addition to the amazing stunt work, Visual Artist, Eva Mantell, created a tapestry of images to represent the biased lens through which most individuals view disability, difference and beauty˗ a lens we literally and metaphorically break apart. Heidi Latsky’s GIMP creates an innovative, beyond comparable vehicle for dialogue, increased understanding and revolutionary civic engagement. According to The Washington Post, “GIMP takes the ‘dis’ out of disabled and reveals a whole new realm of abilities.”

GIMP premiered in the fall of 2008 at North Fourth/VSA Arts of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Since its premiere, GIMP has been presented at numerous venues across the United States. In 2010, a benefit performance of GIMP, titled Another Chance to Dance, was presented at the Jewish Community Center for Handicap International, in which prosthetics were provided for Haitian amputees. www.thegimpproject.com