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Dance Faculty Member Michele Dunleavy Focuses on “Steel Valley Rhythms” during Borland Project Space Residency

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Silhouette of Dunleavy

Michele Dunleavy, associate professor of theatre and Borland Project Space resident, will give a lecture, “From Hot Metal to Cool Art: A History of the Carrie Furnace in Two Parts,” with Rivers of Steel Arts director of archives, Ron Baraff, and art director, Chris McGinnis, on Thursday, August 25, 5:00-6:00 p.m. in the Borland Project Space (125 Borland) in conjunction with her residency project, Steel Valley Rhythms.

The project focuses on the significance of the historic Carrie Blast Furnaces, which produced iron for the Homestead Works from 1907 to 1978 and are the only non-operative blast furnaces in the Pittsburgh District to remain standing. The furnaces, located on the banks of the Monongahela River just outside Pittsburgh, are a visible reminder of the region’s legacy as the dominant force in the steel industry for over 100 years. As the Steel City enjoys yet another celebrated renaissance, sites like the Carrie Furnace exist as cultural reservoirs, preserving the past in hot metal, brick, and iron ore.

Created in partnership with Rivers of Steel Arts (RoSA), Steel Valley Rhythms aims to create a performance that connects the audience to their environment and to the region’s history. 

“I find myself drawn to the many textures and surfaces located throughout the site, and the potential they hold for creating sounds and rhythms. Though video and live performance, Steel Valley Rhythms will transform objects from the Carrie site along with archival materials to create a work that is both old and new, and that challenges perceived boundaries between labor and art,” explained Dunleavy.

Other upcoming events in conjunction with Dunleavy’s project in the Borland Project Spaceinclude:

Monday, August 29, 5:00-6:15 p.m. Percussive dance workshop with Michele Dunleavy; no previous experience required. Participants should bring/wear hard-soled shoes and wear clothes for movement.

Thursday, September 1, 5:00-7:00 p.m. Open rehearsal of the work in-progress.

Wednesday, September 7, 5:00-6:00 p.m. Video screening of a performance at the Festival of Combustion at Carrie Furnace, Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, September 13, 4:30-6:00 p.m. Closing reception for Steel Valley Rhythms.