Dance Matters: A Recipe for Reflection

October 31, 2013

Three women tell their stories.

Photo by Frank Walsh, courtesy Corning Works


“I love working with people who push me, rather than need to be pushed,” says Beth Corning, who relishes brainstorming and performing with seasoned artists via The Glue Factory Project, an initiative she launched in 2000. For its latest iteration, Corning unites with Nora Chipaumire and Francoise Fournier for Recipes Our Mothers Gave Us, which premieres in January in Pittsburgh, current home base for the director of Corning Works. Her provocative dance-theater productions tackle issues synonymous with adult life, including loss, attaining maturity, and jockeying for power within social hierarchies. For Corning, the project is more than an annual production: “It is a philosophy.”

Cooking themes first enticed Corning while creating Remains (2013), her one-woman show about preserving memories. That project took a different artistic turn, but the yen to “do something with food continued to simmer on a backburner—pun intended,” she quips. Recipes will be staged as a three-ring circus. Opting for an international cast defined by cultural and aesthetic differences, she invited the earthy Chipaumire, a Zimbabwean known for her fusion of African and contemporary dance, and the cool, quiet, Parisian-style dancer/actress Fournier, a French Swede, into her choreographic mix. “These artists can say a great deal by just standing there,” says Corning, herself a bold creative force with keen theatrical sensibilities. She anticipates that each will imbue the process with “her own individual magic.” —Karen Dacko