Contact: Susanne Voeltz for Kanopy Dance [email protected]  608.284.0848


Kanopy Dance Company Cancels Fall Productions at the Overture Center

Company Plans Return to the Stage in Spring of 2021


Madison, WI—June 25, 2020—Kanopy Dance Company, a resident company of the Overture Center for the Arts, announced today the cancellation of its Fall 2020 productions, citing continued uncertainty about the trajectory of Covid-19 and its impact on the health and safety of audiences, artists and staff as a paramount concern; as well as the difficult decision by the Overture Center to suspend all live performances at least through November, 2020.

Kanopy’s canceled productions include “Kanopy Rising”, originally scheduled to run October 16-18, 2020, and featuring cutting edge new work by internationally renowned guest artist, Tadej Brdnik, of the Martha Graham Company, and the popular annual holiday classic, “Winter Fantasia”, a magical dance journey into Norse mythology, December 4-6, 2020.

Last spring, in response to the Covid pandemic,  Kanopy also cancelled performances of  the “Far Out Prophecies of Nostradamus”  and “Martha Graham: The Next Generation” both scheduled at the Overture Center.

Cumulatively, the  extensive show cancelations, as well as the Kanopy Dance Academy’s transition to an exclusively virtual class program for the near future, will continue to have a substantive effect on Kanopy financially and, importantly, artistically. Kanopy’s performances and pre-professional training programs are closely linked. The company regularly engages major guest artists for its concert series and they play an important role in  offering in-person master classes and educational outreach both for Kanopy students and the larger community. Kanopy Academy students can also earn opportunities to perform in some productions. 

In making today’s announcement, Lisa Thurrell, Kanopy’s co-artistic director, remarked:

“While we will deeply miss performing and seeing our audiences this fall at our home in the Overture Center, we are strongly committed to planning a slow and deliberate path back to the stage to ensure that we all can safely convene for inspiring dance performances for seasons to come.

With the challenging demands and close interactions required during rehearsals, we must also secure a safe window for our artists, directors, students and crew to come together in a healthy environment well before the curtain rises.

We are so very grateful to our supporters, students and Kanopy families, as well as to the Overture Center team and our resident  group colleagues for their encouragement and guidance that is so critical in  helping to sustain us during this unprecedented journey to the other side.”


Kanopy plans to resume live performances with two signature productions during the spring of 2021. Discussions regarding performance dates are ongoing and will be finalized soon with the Overture Center for the Arts. The opening concert, “Reflection +Dreams” will cast modern dance legend, Anna Sokolow  (19102000), at center stage. The fearless and celebrated Sokolow, (who began her career as a dancer with Martha Graham and founded the Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble consistently and uncompromisingly expressed her driving sense of social justice and a commitment to political change through her work. 

NYC based Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble’s artistic director, Samantha Geracht, and Brad Orego, a Sokolow Company member, will guest star in Kanopy’s “Reflections +Dreams”, performing selections from Sokolow’s 1955 masterpiece , a groundbreaking and timely work that examined the psychic isolation of characters isolated in small city apartments against the curtain of the 1952 polio epidemic, the “Red Scare” and the threat of atomic annihilation—all shrouding them with pervasive uncertainty and loneliness. 

On a related note, Kanopy Dance Company has been invited by the Sokolow Theatre/ Dance Ensemble – along with the dance departments at Williams College, and Loyola University, Chicago to perform in a major digital production of  Anna Sokolow’s iconic 50-minute long Rooms, set to music composed by Kenyon Hopkins for a jazz ensemble. that will be live- streamed this fall.

Kanopy will close its abbreviated mainstage season at the Overture Center, partnering with Are We Delicious?, Madison’s own ingenious pick-up theatre company, on a wildly creative production of “The Far-out Prophecies of Nostradamus”. The evening of vignettes exploring life’s “unexpected journeys”, to be expressed through dance, spoken word, and onstage live music is inspired by stanzas from the “Prophecies” of the mysterious French astrologer, physician and poet, Nostradamus. It is  a strangely prescient production —with tales yet to be told–  that was originally slated to be staged in April at the Overture Center.



About Kanopy Dance and Kanopy Dance Academy

Kanopy Dance is a quintessential modern dance company. While the company “informs” its works through its roots in the Martha Graham tradition, Kanopy has cultivated its own brand, working to forward a new dimension and visual language to advance American dance.

Kanopy’s artistic directors, Lisa Thurrell, (a former dancer with the Graham Company & School in New York City) and  Robert Cleary, (former principal dancer with Minnesota Dance Theatre), not only  strive to  preserve the best of our Modern Dance Lineage (Graham and others); but also to cultivate the dynamic growth of American dance by training professional dancers, choreographing new works and collaborating with artists to establish new creative benchmarks.

Kanopy Dance Company has a strong regional and national presence working collaboratively with cutting edge dance and dance theater companies throughout the country. Each season, Kanopy attracts dancers and choreographers who are shaping the modern dance scene to create with us on stage. In 2013, Kanopy also formed an ongoing partnership with Martha Graham Dance Company, that continues to flourish and grow,

In addition to performing original works at our home, the Overture Center, and presenting at arts venues including Chicago, Minneapolis and New York City, Kanopy annually engages in outreach programs reaching thousands through area public and private schools, libraries, community centers, preschools, senior centers, outdoor festivals, and colleges; presenting educational workshops, master classes, lecture demonstrations and performances. Kanopy also provides free tickets to those who might otherwise not have access to the performing arts with the Community Tickets program in collaboration with Overture Center. 

Kanopy is comprised of Kanopy Dance Company, Kanopy 2, (our second company and pre-professional training program), Kanopy Academy, and Kanopy Studio. Kanopy Dance Company is a resident company of Overture Center for the Arts.