Local Current Blog

Dancing to Dylan: Minnesota Dance Theatre to perform ‘Moonshine’

'Moonshine,' as performed in 2015 by Nashville Ballet (Karyn Kipley Photography, via Nashville Ballet on Facebook)

As part of its 2017 spring season, Minnesota Dance Theatre (MDT) will present Moonshine, a collection of pieces by British choreographer Christopher Bruce. The dances are set to early Bob Dylan tracks found on his Bootleg Series releases. Moonshine will be presented at the the Cowles Center from April 7-9.

Though this is its Minneapolis premiere, Moonshine has received positive reviews for prior performances in Prague, London, and Nashville. Bruce reflected on the value of folk music when discussing the Prague shows, saying that it contains “some basic truths about life, in an unsophisticated way. It’s a route to the soul.” His choreography incorporates moves referencing what he describes as the “lateral, more animal quality” of the legendary Martha Graham. In a press release, MDT describes Moonshine as a “provocative piece [that] explores the emotional, sometimes haunting, stories of four traveling performers.”

MDT has a unique place in Minnesota music history: it’s where the Revolution took dance lessons to go on tour with Prince. The 1983 First Avenue show where Prince originally recorded “I Would Die 4 U,” “Baby I’m a Star,” and “Purple Rain” was a benefit concert for MDT, who opened that evening with a Flashdance-inspired routine to Prince’s “D.M.S.R.”

It’s a busy year for Dylan, whose “Neverending Tour” will return to North America in mid-June and throughout July. In late January, he announced his first ever three-disc studio album, Triplicate, which hits shelves March 31. Immediately after that, Dylan will perform in Sweden on April 1, 2, and 9. It is unknown whether or not Dylan plans to use those shows to deliver a required lecture for the Nobel Prize in Literature awarded to him in December 2016.

Ibad Jafri is a senior at Carleton College, sort of.