Our very close, personal friends in the, let’s be honest, breathtaking band Low have collaborated with the choreographer Morgan Thorson on a dance/music performance called Heaven, which will be presented at On the Boards here in Seattle April 1-4. You can find out more and buy tickets here and the full details are covered below in the press release from the folks at On the Boards. This thing sounds incredibly cool and we’d all be silly to miss it.
Plus! Both Low and the dancers from Heaven will be live on KEXP on Tuesday, March 30th at 3:00 pm, doing a combination of Low’s music and original compositions from the performance.
Relatedly, and shortly after all of this happens, Alan from Low’s other band Retribution Gospel Choir will be playing here in Seattle, at the Crocodile as part of their first west coast tour since the January release of their Sub Pop debut album 2. That show happens on Wednesday, April 7th. The reliably incredible Kinski will be opening that show!
And! On that same April 7th, at noon, Retribution Gospel Choir will be performing live on KEXP!
To recap (in convenient chronological order):
Low and dancers from Heaven live on KEXP at 3pm!
Heaven at On the Boards!
Retribution Gospel Choir live on KEXP at 3pm!
Retribution Gospel Choir plays at the Crocodile with Kinski!
Here’s the full press release from On the Boards about Heaven:
Rising star choreographer Morgan Thorson teams with cult-favorite indie band Low in west coast premiere of Heaven
Morgan Thorson | Low
Thu – Sun | Apr 1 – 4 | 8pm | $24
(Seattle) – On the Boards (OtB) is pleased to present the west coast premiere of Heaven from choreographer Morgan Thorson and indie band Low (Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker). In this new work Thorson and her collaborators create a synthesis of music and dance in which the musicians participate in the movement and the dancers contribute to the soundscape of lush choral arrangements and minimalist instrumentation.
Exploring the emotional and physical manifestations of ecstasy, Heaven borrows from multiple faiths to find inspiration for the movement and soundtrack. Thorson’s style, which draws from Skinner Releasing Technique, is also highly influenced here by poses and movements drawn from religious rituals. Equal prominence is given to the soundtrack by Sparhawk and Parker by incorporating the musicians into both the stage and the movement. Additionally, the dancers become part of the soundtrack as they sing solos and group works inspired by shape note singing alongside the members of Low.
After seeing Heaven, artistic director Lane Czaplinski commented on the unique combination of music and dance:
“Live music in a dance performance is rare. Music fully integrated into the creative process as well as the live performance is even rarer. In this case Morgan and Alan [choreographer and composer] both have a curiosity about faith and were able to pursue this question together. Watching it felt like a kind of updated Grotowski-like song cycle.”
The west coast premiere of the production comes after a national tour that included stops at the Walker Arts Center (Minneapolis), PS122 (NYC), DiverseWorks Art Space (Houston) and Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts.
Morgan Thorson, originally from Connecticut and NYC, has created dance and performance in Minneapolis since 1994. Her work ranges from outdoor performance and site specific choreography to ensemble/solo improvisation and fully choreographed productions. In 2007 she toured Faker, a performance inspired by the movement and cult phenomena of Elvis, to venues such as PS 122, Institute for Contemporary Art (Boston) and the Walker Art Center’s Momentum Series at The Southern Theater. Minneapolis’ City Pages deemed her Best Choreographer in 2008.
Low is a Duluth-based band led by Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Rogers, with Steve Garrington. Their first album, I Could Live in Hope, was released in 1994 and inspired the creation of the genre “slowcore” style of music, so named because of the contrast of Low’s minimalist soundscapes against the era’s more predominant grunge sound. The band has released 12 albums since then, including a Christmas album (Low Christmas). Their tours have taken them around the world and placed them in shared bills with bands such as Radiohead and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. They have also started multiple side projects, including Retribution Gospel Choir, who will play in Seattle at the Crocodile shortly after the end of Heaven’s run.
Tickets for Morgan Thorson | Low
General Admission $24 | Under 25 & opening night RUSH discounts available
On the Boards Box Office
206.217.9888 | ontheboards.org | 100 West Roy Street, Seattle, WA 98119
(The photos here are all by Cameron Wittig.)