GO! will leave Knoxville with an ever-lasting impression on February 9 and 10 at the Bijou Theatre with its premiere of Unsung Heroes: Women of World War II, an original full length contemporary ballet with live music performed by the Samuel Williams Quintet. "This is our most daring work yet…..focusing on women during World War II, their roles, struggles, victories, and losses," says artistic director, Lisa Hall McKee. GO's audiences will encounter familiar and unfamiliar women of WWII including the WACs and WAVEs, the Riveters, WASPs, Nurse Army Corps, and the OSS in addition to personal encounters with Rosie the Riveter, Anne Frank, and Josephine Baker. "Seven talented choreographers were commissioned for this project and we have had to work hard to find an artistic balance in our approach to the gravity of certain events like Anne Frank and the holocaust while finding good natured humor in others such as Rosie the Riveters and the Women Air Force Service Pilots who flip, spin and dive in the air. A balance had to be found for our audience to absorb the extent of the tragedies and victories which these women experienced," states McKee.
Elaborate lighting, authentic costume and set design, live music, diverse, driven choreography and use of projection are signatures of GO! Actual event film footage will be shown through the use of projection. "The use of actual film footage in addition to live music brings the performance to life and gives it a reality. It takes the audience member from being an observer to being a participant. We all did endless research, drawing on resources such as articles, interviews, autobiographical writings and documentaries to create an authentic and brilliant tapestry of these women." Classical combined with the abstract, GO! has collaborated with a community of artists from this region and beyond including lighting designer from New York, Jon Harper, Great Britain choreographer Rebecca Evans and local musician Samuel Williams, who composed the majority of the music. McKee states "Samuel provides a very diverse repertoire with many different styles and instruments within the one work. His compositions are exceptional and have truly defined the movement vocabulary and aided in developing our women's storyline. It was a fabulous process working with him. The music is full and rich with surprises!"
An honest and engaging work, GO! Contemporary Dance Works has reached beyond pre-conceived ideas of WWII women. " We have not held back and have treated each scene with great respect and sensitivity. It has been an honor to bring this performance forward to our community, our nation," says McKee. Unsung Heroes: The Women of World War II includes a cast of over 40 dancers ages 11-40, some of whom are professional dancers and GO! alumni. "With a project this large, and with such incredible subject matter, I needed a large, artistically diverse cast. The holocaust piece especially required a wide range of ages to make it believable."
These performances are brought in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission, Pilot, The Rush Fitness Complex and 91.9FM WUOT.
Board of Directors
David Hall, Becky Duncan, Jill Frere, Martha Iroff, and Ani Albert
We would like to thank the Tennessee Arts Commission for their generous grant.
We would also like to express our thanks to our many sponsors, especially WUOT, Pilot, The Rush Fitness Center,
and Moe's Southwest Grill.