Re-imagining the Partner: Lauren Warnecke’s Pre-Reflection on the Final Moving Dialogs of the Season — The Art of Partnering

I’m so excited to be a part of this all-star event, the final “Moving Dialogs” of the season. As the featured writer, here is my pre-reflection on Monday’s event!

Audience Architects

Dance writer Lauren Warnecke of Art Intercepts ( ) reflects on her experiences as a dancer & choreographer exploring “The Art of Partnering”: the theme of our final Moving Dialogs of this season, occurring at Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts’ performance penthouse this Monday, November 18th from 6:30pm – 8:30pm.

Re-imagining the Partner

As a dancer-in-training I only ever did two lifts. Playing the part of the Maid in The Nutcracker, I had one lift at the end of the party scene in which Uncle Drosselmeyer gave a boost to my final Italian pas de chat before dashing off stage left. The other time was during a summer workshop rendition of Rodeo, in which the boy (the one boy at our studio, who was significantly scrawnier than me) hoisted me into a split jump – or at least, that was the goal. In the middle of rehearsal…

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High Art and Haute Cuisine at TASTE, a benefit for HSDC

TASTE - JPEG Invitation

When someone tells me to drink fine wine in the name of art, I say,

“Where do I sign up?”

It’s not too often that my worlds of dance and domesticity collide, but it’s worth mentioning that an upcoming soiree benefitting  Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is right up my alley (and by that I mean drinking on a Monday night in a swanky cocktail dress).

Hubbard Street is one of the city’s finest dance companies, and having just kicked off its 36th season, the timing is perfect for a celebration. This TASTE is the fourth of its kind, and will feature fine and rare wines from Hart Davis Hart Wine Company (vintages ranging from 2000-2010) alongside savory bites from Chef J. Joho of Everest – where the event is being held. For an event of this caliber, the $275 price tag is likely to be totally worth it.  I’m thinking my first glass of wine is coming from a bottle worth at least that much…

You know you want this.

Scott and Allison Ohlander, left, with Craig and Maria Brahamat restaurant L2O for TASTE 2013. Photo by Robert F. Carl.
Scott and Allison Ohlander, left, with Craig and Maria Brahamat restaurant L2O for TASTE 2013. Photo by Robert F. Carl.
Hart Davis Hart tasting table in L2O dining room, TASTE 2013. Photo by Robert F. Carl
Hart Davis Hart tasting table in L2O dining room, TASTE 2013. Photo by Robert F. Carl

TASTE takes place Monday, November 4, 6-8:30pm at Everest (440 N. LaSalle St., 40th fl.). Tickets are $275 and can be purchased through Jeanne Newman, Manager of Individual Giving and Special Events at 312-850-9744 ext. 130. Space is limited; all proceeds benefit Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s artistic and educational programming.

A quick moment for gloating

When I first wake up in the morning, I usually take a big stretch, scratch my belly, and check my feeds.  I browse Facebook and Twitter and update my Words With Friends.  Occasionally I glance at the news.  Then I eventually roll out of bed and get my day going.

So this morning was extra special when I pulled up the Huffington Post’s Arts and Culture page and saw this:

That’s me, the headliner, dishing about naked dancing.  ON THE HUFFINGTON POST.

Maybe you didn’t know that this isn’t my only blog… I also write about dance on my own site, as well as here and here. And did you happen to catch the guest spot I wrote here?!?  And it just so happened that my recent post on was pitched to HuffPo and they liked it.


Had I known all it would take was talking about modern dance in the buff to get in at Huffington Post, I would have done it a lot sooner.

In any case, I’m simply tickled to be part of the the team of esteemed bloggers at HuffPo, and couldn’t resist taking a minute to brag.

Starbucks Around the World: San Francisco, CA

Ok, I have a confession to make.  So without experiencing their legendary service, I can’t automatically assume that any Starbucks store gets my thumbs up of approval.  What I CAN say is that San Francisco is awesome – as are the dance bloggers I’ve been hanging out with here. With all the techno-talk and tweeting I didn’t even have time to actually go inside this Starbucks to buy a beverage (hence the nervous endorsement). But like I always say, Starbucks is like the Catholic Church… you can go to any one in the world and pretty much know what you’re gonna get.  I can’t imagine this store on the corner of Powell and I-don’t-remember near the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts would be anything but exceptional.

Sweaty and Sossy in St. Louis

Round two of the Summer ’12 “Places I’ve never been tour” began just a day and a half after returning from Cleveland.  The primary objective of visiting St. Louis was the Spring to Dance Festival at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.  As such I spent my evenings seeing some of the best dance in the nation (including favorites BalletX and Sossy Mechanics), and took the opportunity of spending my three days here exploring a new city. I really didn’t try to cram it all in; my goals for St. Louis were cathartic, relaxing, and free.  Here are the highlights:

The St. Louis Zoo

Tucked way back in the Forest Park area of St. Louis, the zoo is totally awesome – if you can find it.  I drove round and round and eventually found the North entrance.  If you can happen to find it, go, and DON’T PAY FOR PARKING.  There’s free street parking everywhere; I parked directly across the street from the $15 pay lot.  I’m pretty sure that St. Louisians (?)… Louistons (?)… that people from St. Louis can’t parallel park which accounts for the plethora of available free spots.

I’ve been to a couple of free zoos and generally find them to be lame, which you excuse them for because, you know, it’s free.  The St. Louis Zoo claims to be America’s #1 zoo, and while I can’t say that for sure since I’ve only been to like 5 zoos, I will say that it was beautifully landscaped and the animals look happy and content.  My favorite area was definitely the apes, where I giggled like a little girl at the zoo (a pun, but, not really) as the orangutans summersaulted down a hillside and covered themselves with sheets while making eyes with the audience.

St. Louis Art Museum

“Dedicated to Art and Free for All” graces the proscenium of the beautifully situated St. Louis Art Museum.  I mainly decided to stop here because it is free and air-conditioned.  What a pleasant surprise to find Monet’s Waterlilies and Degas’s bronze dancer statue in the impressionist wing.  I spent some quiet time on top of the hill overlooking a scenic lagoon that hinted at memories of the Palace of Versailles from my trip to Paris oh, say, 15 years ago.  If I ever return to St. Louis, I’m excited to go back here and see the highly anticipated new wing of the museum opening next week.  In the mean time, things are a bit amiss due to the construction, but overall I found this place to be an absolutely lovely place to spend a solitary afternoon


A rather small-ish version of Millennium Park in Chicago, this was my resting spot on a self-guided, meandering, walking tour of downtown St. Louis. With the sweltering 95-degree heat on my brow, the fountains and wading pools were a welcome diversion (as was the super hip ice cream man who drove up to save the day for all the sweaty kids (ok, and grown-ups too).  I then perused the rest of downtown on foot, including a trek down to the Gateway Arch, and then promptly turned around when I saw the amusement park-type lines of tourists waiting to go up to the top.


This morning I explored the Ferguson Farmers Market with great delight since produce isn’t nearly as far along up in the “north country” of Chicago.  Ferguson is the epitome of small town America, and like most typical small towns seems to suffer from a case of Wal-Mart…. what with its quaint downtown business district that consists primarily of empty storefronts.  I really want to like Ferguson, though, and thoroughly enjoyed being part of the healthy turnout at the farmers market and taking a sweaty stroll through charming neighborhood near the downtown core.  If in Ferguson and in search of a meal, go to the Brewhouse, not Marley’s.  Just trust me on that one.

True confessions of a bike commuter: Francesca Bourgault

It’s time again for another bike commuter…. today features the lovely Francesca Bourgault, the cheeriest lighting designer I ever did meet:

Francesca Bourgault is a lighting designer, technical director, dance teacher and crafter that bops around town constantly. The only regular parts of her schedule are the 4 tot dance classes I teach each week at Chase Park for Design Dance. In the evenings she design for enough dance companies that she’s always somewhere different and always trying to remember how to get there. When gear needs to be shuttled or the commute is too far, she drives, but only then does she leave her funked up bike locked at home.

Where do you live? The southeast corner of Ravenswood [a North-side Chicago neighborhood]

How long is your commute? Depending on the gig, it can be anywhere from a mile to 8 each way. If I get called to Oak Park, however, I typically choose to drive since it’s super far and usually a late night rehearsal or tech crew call.

from Red Dress Run on the 4th of July 2009. Francesca uses her bike for exercise and dressing up in addition to commuting.

What kind of bike do you ride?  Ha! My poor bike was probably stolen before it got to me. On Craig’s List it was labeled Arctic in color, purple and white. It’s had a lot of adjustments including a trade from Ram’s horn to straight handlebars and from green brake and gear lines to silver. I think it can be considered a hybrid but who knows anymore.

Do you wear work clothes on your bike, or wear bike clothes and change at work? Almost always I will bike in work clothes. The only exception is if I want to wear cute shoes for a show; then it’s all about the sneakers or boots for the commute.

How do you carry your stuff? Paniers? Messenger bag? Milk Crate? My partner donated a sweet, white basket to my cause that goes on my handlebars. I also have a rack on the back with bungee netting that holds the leftovers. Sometimes I even add my backpack but mostly I find a way to leave something at home if it seems like that may be necessary.

Fair-weather rider? The only things I won’t ride through are the slushy stuff on the side of the road and ice. I hate ice and have fallen on it too many times. My tires are not good for that sort of thing and I don’t trust my unbalanced bike.

Scariest moment on the bike: I don’t usually run into any funny business but recently, in Wrigleyville, of course, I got slowly cut off by a cab. Slowly meaning that he almost wasn’t past me when he started veering into the bike lane then off the road. He got a swift smack to the window for that one. No turn signal or anything. Sheesh! I must say that I’m pretty lucky for not having been doored ever or gotten thrown off by any humungous pot holes.

Tips for new riders: Make yourself do it. It’s easy to get into the habit of taking the bus/train or driving “because it’s easier” but in the end, it’s really not. It takes so much less time both in transit and pre/post ride due to parking plus the boost from cardio is a benefit we all can use.

Why you ride: I hate driving and parking and definitely hate missing the bus. My bike is so convenient and reminds me to move when I would otherwise be sedentary most of the day.

If you are a bike commuter and would like to be featured in this series, please send an email to for consideration.  Thanks!