Toto, Maybe We Are in Kansas, After All
August 25, 2014

Here and below: Members of American Fusion Project at work

Thanks to a summer grant from The Juilliard School, three third-year dancers–Kyle Weiler, Taylor Hansen and Cleo Person–will spend one week in Kansas in September performing pieces they created based on a Frank O’Hara poem. It’s all part of piano major (and Kansas native) Kristen Doering’s American Fusion Project, a collective of artists–dancers, musicians and vocalists–who tour their work to expose students to the performing arts and the nature of collaboration.

“I love the idea of going back to your hometown and sharing what you’ve learned at school,” says Weiler, pictured at right with Hansen. “I wanted to get on board.” He created a trio for himself and the other two dancers, set to Leonard Bernstein’s Piano Trio. Though he hadn’t read O’Hara’s “A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island” before, Weiler thinks that actually played in his favor. “I keep discovering new things about the poem,” he says. “I didn’t come in with any preconceived notions of what an English teacher told me the poem was about.”

The American Fusion Proect will tour to Garden City, Kansas, on September 2; Lawrence, KS, on September 4; and Kansas City, Missouri, on September 6.



Photos by Jiyang Chen, courtesy of AFP

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