Project: Motion Modern Dance Collective celebrates its 30th anniversary season in July with STIR!, a season kickoff performance at the Jay Etkin Gallery in Cooper-Young July 8th-9th. The one-of-a-kind performance will reflect upon past works and set sights upon the creation of new ones.

Founded in Memphis in 1987 by Judith Wombwell and Ann Halligan, Project: Motion is a not-for-profit modern dance collective devoted to the creation and presentation of innovative, well-crafted dance works that inspire, stimulate, and engage audiences on an intellectual, emotional, and physical level. Project: Motion fosters artistic collaborations and provides a forum for local dance artists to experiment, develop skills, and hone artistic vision in a nurturing and challenging environment.

Project: Motion dance makers include Louisa Koeppel, Hutchison ballet and movement instructor; Emily Hefley, Germantown Performing Arts Center programming manager; Wayne M.  Smith, University of Memphis dance professor and long-time Project: Motion company member; as well as Courtney Oliver, resident company member with Playhouse on the Square.

At the kickoff performance, Koeppel will present “Spoon,” a whimsical piece originally performed in 2006 that sends its characters on a journey to will a beloved spoon from the depths of a disposal, and forces a choice between repair or acceptance of new life. Koeppel will also present “Pocket” (2005), featuring guest artist Stephanie Mei Hom of Ballet Memphis, which pays homage to friends and loved ones who have been pulled away to find their bliss.

Hefley will present “From Bloomers to Britches” (2013), a piece that explores the shift in fashion during the latter part of the Victorian period. Her signature style is highlighted through quirky, dynamic and character oriented movement.

Smith will present “Posh 3, Petal & Push…”  (1996), a trio that is warm and playfully toned performed to the music of Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington. This piece is essentially a wine/cocktail social for three where the audience acts as … “voyeur” to this intimate affair.

STIR! will take place at the Jay Etkin Gallery, 942 S. Cooper, in Cooper Young, July 8th and July 9th beginning at 7 pm. Tickets are $12 and can be reserved by calling 901-214-LEAP or visiting

Come learn why Dr. Elena Stoeva calls Memphis’ longest-running modern dance company’s productions “so complete, and true to the values of dance.” — By Rebecca Cochran