Stories are among our most potent tools. We need to unearth old stories that live in a place and begin to create new ones. We are story makers, not just story tellers. All stories are connected, new ones woven from threads of the old. (Paraphrased – Robin Wall Kimmerer)

Join ARENA DANCES every Thursday lunch break for new podcasts, hosted by Artistic Director Mathew Janczewski. This series will share the histories of notable Twin Cities dance artists and the evolution of the industry’s landscape through time. Each week will feature a new guest of honor, sharing their story and impact on this gem of an arts town.

This week’s special guest: Paula Mann

Paula Mann’s journey took her from Appalachian roots to Detroit teenage runaway, through Kent State in the 1970’s, to NYU and the downtown dance scene of the 1980’s. She studied Humphrey/Limon technique with Ruth Currier and members of the Limon company, Hawkins technique with Eric Hawkins and Cunningham with Merce Cunningham. Her first concert of choreography was produced at the Merce Cunningham Studio in 1980 and later that year she co-founded Dudek/Mann + Dancers with partner Tina Dudek. Mann moved to the Twin Cities in 1987, armed with a BA and MA in Dance from NYU, and following seven years as co-director of Dudek/Mann + Dancers. Since her arrival in the Twin Cities, Mann has created 50 new works and is co-artistic director of TIME TRACK PRODUCTIONS with visual artist Steve Paul. 

Next episode airs on this page on March 4th
Studio Stories with Susanna Di Palma

More about today’s special guest –

Paula Mann began her dance studies in 1974 when she attended an early admission program at Kent State University. She was introduced to modern dance initially through improvisation and dance composition and continued to study a range of techniques including Humphrey/Limon with Ruth Currier and members of the Limon company, Hawkins Technique with Eric Hawkins and Cathy Ward, Cunningham with Merce Cunningham, Ballet, Release Technique, Contact Improvisation and Physical Theater with DV8. While still in high school she toured with the Kent State University experimental movement troupe “FIBER” As a part of the bicentennial activities, FIBER improvised their way through a tour of Ohio (which included performances on Cincinnati streets and buses) supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Mann moved to New York in 1977 and soon became part of the bourgeoning downtown dance community. Her first concert of choreography was produced at the Merce Cunningham Studio in 1980 and later that year she co-founded Dudek/Mann + Dancers with partner Tina Dudek. Dudek/Mann performed in many New York venues, toured the north east, and were amongst the youngest women to be given a full production at Dance Theater Workshop as a part of the 1985 Winter Events Series.

Mann moved to the Twin Cities from New York in 1987, armed with a BA and MA degree in dance from New York University, and following seven years as co-director of Dudek/Mann + Dancers. Building on a background of modern dance technique and ballet, she has expanded the scope of her work to include projected media/visual imagery. Since her arrival in the Twin Cities, Mann has created 50 new works. She is co-artistic director of TIME TRACK PRODUCTIONS whose mission is to explore the relationship between media and humanity using live performance as a foundation. 

Mann’s work has been presented by performance venues both in New York—at Dance Theater Workshop, P.S 122, Danspace, Off Broadway at the Douglass Fairbanks Theater, Movement Research at the Judson Church, and the Lower East Side Dance Festival—and in the Twin Cities, by the Southern Theater, the O’ Shaughnessy Dance Series/ Women of Substance series, The Walker Art Center, The Ritz theater, MN Dance Alliance’s Studio 6A, Red Eye Theater Isolated Acts, Cowles Center for Dance and many colleges and universities throughout the region and throughout the U.S. and Canada. Over the past 30 years Mann has been recognized with seven McKnight Artist Fellowships for Choreographers (latest in 2019), the Jerome Foundation, Meet the Composer, the Minnesota State Arts Board (latest in 2020) MRAC Arts Activities and Community Arts, two Sage Cowles Chairs at the University of Minnesota, a Bush Artist Fellowship, 2012 American Composer’s New Music for Dance, and a 2017 St Paul Cultural Star grant. 

Time Track’s newest work “Invisible”, for 10 women aged between 26-78 years old premiered at the Southern Theater in February 2018, garnering rave reviews and sold-out performances at the Southern Theater. In August 2018, a new evening length commissioned work “Pie Equals Square” was presented at The Zoo Southside in Edinburgh Scotland. 

In 2003, 2005 and 2007 Time Track Productions completed a trilogy of evening-length work that explored the effect of media on humanity through live performance. In July 2009 the company presented ‘I Love Tomorrow’ at Dance Theater Workshop in New York City and Red Eye’s Isolated Acts Festival in 2010. ‘O The Humanity’ premiered at Red Eye Theater in January 2012. Time Track presented ‘Here & After at Cowles Center. In September 2014 Time Track premiered “The One And The Many” at the Cowles Center for Dance and “Rules Of The Crowd” at The Weitz Center for Creativity in September 2015.  She served as full-time faculty at the University of Minnesota Department of Theater and Dance from 1993-2013. In 2014-2015 Mann was a visiting professor of dance at the University of Wisconsin and in 2018-2020 visiting professor at St Olaf college.

Missed last week’s episode? You can find all our previous interviews by clicking here!