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Conversations with creators and organizers of the arts scene in West Michigan, hosted by Cara Lieurance

Innovative Michigan dancer Nic Gareiss will bring "Wintersong" to The Clover Room

Nic Gareiss
Kameron Staten
Nic Gareiss

As a percussive dancer, Nic Gareiss often partners with instrumentalists — or as he likes to say, "dancers who hold things." That was the case last April when he visited Kalamazoo withLaurel Premo and Jake Blount, on a tour that took them to New York City, Boston, and Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center.

But for his Dec 21 concert at The Clover Room, Gareiss will perform a solo program of dances and songs drawing from the many traditions he has embraced and studied (he holds advanced degrees in anthropology and ethnochoreography). They include step-dancing, clogging, and flatfooting styles from Ireland, Appalachia, and Quebec. He'll honor Michigan's music history by dancing with a vintage recording of Beaver Island fiddler Patrick Bonner, and by performing a song from John Hartford, an artist he first saw as a child in his hometown of Mount Pleasant. And he will ask the audience to sing with him to tie the present solstice night to solstice gatherings long past.

Gareiss talks to Cara Lieurance about these highlights, and about his unique place in various worlds: as a queer non-binary person in folk circles (which are not so "traditional" as they appear), and as a dancer/singer who moves fluidly between collaborations and solo projects, evading definitions and pigeon-holing.

The Celtic folk trio Selkie(of which Lieurance is a member) will begin the evening at 7:30 pm with a selection of carols, wire-strung harp tunes and Irish and Breton dance sets. For tickets and more information, visit The Clover Room website.

Cara Lieurance is the local host of NPR's All Things Considered on 1021 WMUK and covers local arts & culture on Let's Hear It on 89.9 Classical WMUK weekday mornings at 10 - 11 am.
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