Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Reception for Kickstarter fundraiser to support dance drama about 1913 Copper Miners' Strike is Sept. 21

On Aug. 17, 2013, members of the cast of For They Are Women's Children, an original dance drama depicting scenes from the 1913 Copper Miners' Strike, participate in the Copper Country Heritage Parade in Calumet. Pictured here in the role of "Big Annie" carrying the flag is Anna Daavettila, a senior at Houghton High School, who will be the lead dancer in the performance, which will be presented Oct. 25 and 27 in the Calumet Theatre. Carrying the banner announcing the show are Cynthia and Joseph Daavettila, Anna's parents, followed by young dancers in the cast. In addition to Director and Choreographer Donna Armistead's Superior School of Dance students, young dancers from Bonnie Hafeman's Girl Scout troop and the Kivajat Dancers will participate in the performance. The Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's is in the background of the photo. (Photo © and courtesy Joanne Thomas)

HANCOCK -- The Copper Island Beach Club in Hancock will host a Kickstarter reception in support of the fundraiser for the original dance drama For They Are Women's Children from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21. Meet the producers, cast and crew and learn about this project. A cash bar and hors d'oeuvres will be provided.

For They Are Women’s Children, a contemporary dance-drama featuring original choreography by Donna Armistead and an original musical score by composer Robin Oye, will receive its world premiere at the Calumet Theater Oct. 25, 2013.  Featuring musicians and dancers from the local community, it depicts episodes in the daily lives of miners and their families during the 1913 Copper Miners' Strike, culminating in the Italian Hall tragedy on Christmas Eve when seventy-three people -- including fifty-nine children -- lost their lives.

The ballet’s aim is to personalize the struggles of working people in prewar Calumet and its environs through the medium of original music and dance. Theatregoers will have the opportunity to see and hear the premiere of a unique theatrical work evoking the will and determination characteristic of Copper Country residents who persevered despite ethnic strife, enmity and bitterness in the face of hardship and tragedy.

Director Donna Armistead is an independent choreographer and stage director who makes her home in Jacobsville, Mich. Formerly a soloist/principal dancer with several regional ballet companies, she was for eleven years artistic director of the Superior School of Dance, Houghton/Hancock, where she is still a member of the faculty. Her choreographic work has been featured locally in productions of the Michigan Tech Theatre, Pine Mountain Music Festival and Calumet Players as well as her former company, Lake Superior Dance Theatre.

A resident of Keweenaw County, Robin Oye is a flutist, composer and music educator whose work has been featured in stage productions at Finlandia University and Michigan Tech's McArdle Theatre. He will conduct a four-piece orchestra for the current production.

The cast will feature some of Armistead’s students in principal roles, supported by local youth and adult community members. Performance times are 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 27. For ticket information call the Calumet Theatre box office at (906) 337-2610.

Although the Calumet Theatre is kindly providing some in-kind technical support, they were unable to obtain a performance grant for the project. Therefore, all funds raised by this project will support musician stipends, simple sets and costuming, and rental of rehearsal space.

The Kickstarter fundraiser has a goal of $4000 to be raised between now and Oct. 16, 2013. To see a video clip about the project and learn how you can pledge support online, click here.

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