Lighting up the City with their Art
Story Lynn Canning
Photos Steve Smith
Lauren Edson loves to make things, and as co-founder of LED Boise, that is her job-description. Lauren is Artistic Director/Choreographer/Dancer and together with her collaborators, they combine contemporary dance, original music and film to create their innovative brand of performance art.
Their recent project is a large scale dance performance, “Jabberwock,” which premiered March 2nd at the Morrison Center. It is a modern interpretation of the Lewis Carroll poem that features a cast of world-class dancers, a global sensibility, and includes original music by Lauren’s musician/composer husband, Andrew Stensaas.
Growing up in Boise, Lauren was put into dance class at age 3 as an outlet for self-expression. A natural and gifted dancer, she trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts and The Julliard School. Later returning to Boise as an adult, she made the decision to remain in Idaho, “I love the people and the ability to contribute to the cultural landscape while simultaneously taking in so much goodness.”
Lauren and Andrew founded LED as a non-profit in 2015 after the birth of their first child, and committed themselves to full time artistic collaboration. In addition to dance and music, they had a vision to create cinematic theatrical experiences, and they recruited filmmaker Kyle Morck to join as the 3rd partner.
They are completing the construction of a new studio space in downtown Boise on Grove Street which will serve as an incubator for new projects and a home base to share with the community. Once completed, they are eager to invite the audience to experience all their creative projects including live dance/music performances, film screenings, intimate gatherings and visiting artists. Their art is inclusive and accessible, and Lauren stresses, “I would love audiences to know that whatever they think or feel is exactly right. I want to create the space for people to enter into the work in their own way.”
In addition to the large scale dance performances, they share their art via film and created a weekly video series, “Interesting Failures.” This medium provides limitless opportunity to create and explore new ways of expression and entertainment. In producing the videos, they often leave their studio and literally take their art into the streets of downtown Boise, integrating and filming their performers throughout the city. Recent videos featured a Jabberwock cast member dancing down the aisle of The Record Exchange, and another highlighted a performer zipping around on a scooter on the streets surrounding Boise State.
The LED collaborators have no interest in being comfortable. They are always creating and searching for new ways to put their art out in the world. Andrew adds, “We aren’t doing it for fame, we aren’t doing it for fortune…we just want to make things.”
We are fortunate that LED has made downtown Boise their home base. We have the opportunity to experience LED’s innovative art whether up close in their new space, at an on-stage performance or perhaps by chance while enjoying a latte at the neighborhood coffee shop.