A dazzling student performance in Dittmann Studio One capped her brief artistic residency at St. Olaf.
Nine students were cast from auditions held earlier this year, and with only ten days to work, Niehoff honed the ensemble piece into an impressive display of dance artistry. Saturday afternoons show consisted of a series of untitled dances.
The pieces, which are part of Niehoff's larger project with the Lingo dance theater called Relatively Real, featured challenging and acrobatic maneuvers including lifts and even headstands.
Though physically strenuous, the dances maintained fluidity, employing Niehoffs signature blend of tough physicality, precision and grace.
The collaboration between Niehoff and St. Olaf students was met with great enthusiasm. The students enjoyed the opportunity to learn from a prolific professional in the field.
She was fantastic to work with. The opportunity to work with a performer that has a company was really exciting, Katie Balfanz 07 said.
Dance faculty also greatly appreciated Niehoffs work.
She is a vibrant emerging artist and was very generous to the students, Dance Department Chair Janice Roberts said.
Niehoff, who will be coming back to St. Olaf again next year, also enjoyed teaching here and getting to know the cast.
They were fantastic, talented young women, Niehoff said.
The dance department previously connected to Niehoff through Dustin Haug 00, who has been a member of Lingo since 2002.
Niehoff was invited to St. Olaf after dance faculty Janice and Anthony Roberts saw Niehoffs choreography in Speak to Me at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis.
Niehoff's production of Relatively Real will premiere in its full form in May at a theater in Seattle, along with an encore presentation of Speak to Me.
Relatively Real is about identity and perception: who we think we are, how others perceive us and how filters of time, place, security, and relationships tip our grasp on our self, Niehoff said.
Niehoff established Lingo dance theater, an interdisciplinary performing ensemble, in 1997.
Lingo has performed extensively throughout the United States as well as internationally in Japan, Ecuador, Cuba and Canada.
Active in the Seattle dance scene ever since she moved there in 1992, Niehoff teaches and serves as artistic director at the newly renovated Velocity Dance Center which she and fellow dancer Michele Miller opened in May 1996.
As a performer, Niehoff currently dances with MAGPIE, an improvisational dance/music group based in Amsterdam.