Project: Motion dancer and choreographer Louisa Koeppel wants to make your holiday just a little more luminous than it might be otherwise. "It's been a challenging year," she says, contemplating the theme to this year's "House Happening," Project: Motion's third annual collaboration with the Woodruff-Fontaine House in Victorian Village. "It's been challenging for so many people in so many ways, and if we can bring a little bit of light and lightness through our medium of dance, then we're happy."
The theme to this year's happening is "All Is Bright." In addition to their illuminating performances, Project: Motion will move beyond the four walls of the 19th-century mansion-turned-museum to spotlight pathways and backhouses. "We're treating the main house as a portal to the rest of the grounds," Koeppel says. "We want to shed light on the carriage house, the root cellar, the gingerbread house in the back, and more of the grounds."
Audiences of not more than 60 per show will split into groups and receive docent-guided tours through three revolutions of the house and grounds. Along the route, they'll encounter works by Koeppel and her fellow choreographers Rebecca Cochran, Wayne Smith, and Emily Hefley, in addition to teddy bear installation-artist Sheri Bancroft and monologist Adam Remsen.
"Rebecca has choreographed a piece for me about a cold, lonely person on Christmas looking for a bit of warmth," says Koeppel, who'll be performing in the gingerbread house. She is also reviving "Oh Brother," a piece originally performed for Voices of the South's 2008 installment of the company's ever-changing holiday grab bag, Present/Present. It was inspired by Christmases spent with a beloved sibling and includes text from Dylan Thomas' "A Child's Christmas in Wales."
"House Happening," a benefit for both Project: Motion and the Woodruff-Fontaine House, has been designed as a brief escape from the holiday hustle and bustle. Running just over an hour, it provides audiences a chance to take a break and sip some cider or brandy punch and sample a double scoop of Memphis culture. But it's not too much of a commitment at a time of year when there's never enough time.