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Celebrating Frederick Law Olmsted's 200th anniversary through dance at Washington Park

Wild Spaces Dance
Insite:Dance For Washington Park

Frederick Law Olmsted designed Milwaukee’s Lake Park, Riverside Park and Washington Park. As a part of a nationwide celebration of Olmsted’s 200th anniversary, Wild Space Dance Company created a site-based dance performance specifically crafted for Washington Park’s landscape and community significance.

Alisha Jihn and Tisiphani Mayfield are Wild Space’s guest choreographers for “InSite: Dances for Washington Park.” Their dances are created in conversation with Olmsted’s design elements throughout the park.

Jihn starts by explaining that she didn't know much about Olmsted and his legacy.

It's the softness in Olmsted's work that inspires Jihn, she says, like the rolling hills or the calmness of the water.

"I think I've been really inspired by what we've been creating in movement and also creating juxtaposition against the sort of softness that we see through creating perhaps like more striking stronger movements and more quick tempo movements to fit within, in contrast and also out in collaboration with the space," says Jihn.

Another aspect that she found important was that Olmsted believed that parks should be available to everyone, not just people of a certain status.

Mayfield adds that she hopes through the performance everyone will realize that there's something for everyone and that the park is a place where you can connect.

"Whether you love the rhythm, the feel of the Earth, there's a place for you whether you come in and you just love to play in the park - there's a place for you. There's all these carefree moments. And there's also places where we really dive deep so there's just something for everyone," says Mayfield.

The free performances are Sunday, May 22 at 3:00p.m. and 7:30p.m.

Audrey Nowakowski is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
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