What would it be like to view a Merce Cunningham piece from the inside? CUNNINGHAM, a new dance film utilizing 3-D video technology, will allow audiences to find out, putting them in the midst of numerous dances ranging from iconic classics such as Summerspace (1958) and RainForest (1968) to early works like Totem Ancestor (1942). On the team is filmmaker Alla Kovgan, co-directors of choreography Robert Swinston and Jennifer Goggans, and a stellar cast of former Cunningham dancers, including Rashaun Mitchell, Silas Riener, Melissa Toogood and Andrea Weber. Filming is expected to take place in spring 2018 in hopes of a premiere aligned with Cunningham's 2019 centennial.
Like many dancers, when Lauren Schelfhaudt and Jean Paul retired from professional ballroom dancing in 2016, they felt lost. "There was this huge void," says Schelfhaudt.
But after over 20 years of dancing, plus United States and World Championship titles, reality shows, and high-profile choreography gigs (and Paul's special claim to fame, as "the guy who makes Bradley Cooper look bad" in Silver Linings Playbook), teaching just didn't fill the void. "I got to the point where it wasn't giving me that creative outlet," says Paul.
When the pair (who are life and business partners but were never dance partners—they competed against one another) took a post-retirement trip to Costa Rica, they were ready to restart their lives. They found inspiration in an expected place: A visit to a coffee farm.
Though they had no experience in coffee roasting or business, they began building their own coffee company. In 2018, the duo officially launched Dancing Ox Coffee Roasters, where they create dance-inspired blends out of their headquarters in Belmont, North Carolina.
We talked to Schelfhaudt and Paul about how their dance background makes them better coffee roasters, and why coffee is an art form all its own: