Take Root, Red Bull collaborate for art

Take Root, a professional dance company created by OU professors Thayer Jonutz and Ali Woerner, will be collaborating with the Red Bull House of Art Sunday, Nov. 24 at 3 p.m.

The collaboration involves the Take Root team dancing around artwork presented by the RBHOA, according to Woerner. The dance will last for 30 minutes and will be a collaboration of  painting, sculpture and dance all in one area.

Take Root consists of seven company members, three of which are OU alumni. There is an OU student apprentice as well, who will actually be performing at the upcoming collaboration in place of one of the members.

“I think that’s a unique part about Take Root,” Woerner said. “We have our students here and are teaching them … they have gotten to know our aesthetic and what we do with Take Root.”

An original music composition will be used for this collaboration, according to Jonutz. It was written specifically for this piece by Professor John Anderson of Wayne State University.


Fearless and flexible

Jonutz and Woerner both said they were excited about the opportunities the collaboration will present for both them and the RBHOA.

“The Red Bull House of Art is an art gallery for emerging artists,” Woerner said. “Take Root will be performing in their home, in their gallery, with all of their artwork around us.”

According to Woerner, artists live on the second floor of the RBHOA, producing work in a certain amount of time and showing the completed work in the gallery for a couple of months. There is a continuous cycle of art and artists.

This means the gallery will be full of new art when Take Root arrives.

“We will have to be super flexible in our mindset and our choreography,” Jonutz said. “We have to be able to collaborate with the space and all the circumstances and the elements to make it work.”

Jonutz and Woerner agreed that won’t be a problem, however.

“We’re very comfortable with that type of work setting,” Jonutz said. “It keeps it fresh. It keeps it exciting for us.”


Inspiring students

Jonutz and Woerner both said they are excited about the message Take Root sends to their students at OU.

“It has become a nice relationship within Oakland University’s dance program,” said Woerner. “There are a few that have gravitated towards what we do and really thrive with that.”

Take Root first premiered as a show at the Varner Recital Hall in February 2013, according to Jonutz. Both he and Woerner had been choreographing and performing for years and decided to join forces.

Since then Jonutz, Woerner and Take Root have become involved with the numerous dance companies in Michigan and have become “a part of the conversation.”

“We’re adding to the dance scene in our own unique way,” Jonutz said.

The two professors said they hope Take Root and collaborations such as this one will inspire students to always further their dancing careers.

“I believe that we’re showing students what’s possible,” said Woerner. “Hopefully it gives them a little bit of stimulation and excitement.”