There is no telling what each performance will bring during Utopia Parkway, an evening-long work of dance, music and incorporation of other elements.

That’s because Utopia Parkway is built around improvisation, of dance and live music, created and performed live and in real time by dance faculty members Chris Aiken and Angie Hauser.

utopiaparkway2Performances take place on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 20-21, at 8 p.m. in Hallie Flanagan Studio Theater, Mendenhall Center.

Utopia Parkway is inspired by the poetic sensibility and creative process of visual artist Joseph Cornell and the dream-like ways in which he transformed space and time through the arrangement and deconstruction of objects that he found or collected throughout his life.

“Our goal is to create a sense of poetic theater through the interplay of dance, music, light and set design,” says Aiken, who, with Hauser, joined the Smith faculty last year. “Each performance will be unique, inspired by the interweaving of the artistic collaborators’ improvisational impulses combined with the energy and attention of the audience. How the audience responds affects the choices we make on stage. It is a relationship.

“We choose to work improvisationally because of the dialogue it creates with emergent processes. We are entering the unknown in order to create something that is as new to us as it is to the audience.”

utopiaparkwayCollaborating in the performances with Aiken and Hauser are musicians Jesse Manno, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, and Robert Benford, percussionist, as well as new media designer Eitan Mednelowitz.

Utopia Parkway is sponsored by the Office of the Provost/Dean of the Faculty.

Tickets for Utopia Parkway are $5. For more information, call 413-585-2787, or send email to