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Big Muddy revives 'Lemp Legends' with dance performances at famous mansion
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Big Muddy revives 'Lemp Legends' with dance performances at famous mansion

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Very much a part of St. Louis lore, the tale of the Lemp family — a brewing dynasty that was beset by multiple suicides and left behind a mansion that is famously believed to be haunted — turned out to be fertile source material for the Big Muddy Dance Company. “Lemp Legends,” which debuted two years ago at the Edison Theatre, is being revived this weekend as the ensemble’s 2020-21 season opener — but with a difference.

The multisection piece has been reimagined for a walking tour of the mansion and adjacent spaces and will premiere online this weekend. An immersive production for audiences at the mansion has been delayed to comply with city and county safety recommendations and is now planned for the spring.

The choreography is by dancers Geoffrey Alexander, CJ Burroughs, Dustin Crumbaugh, Bennett Cullen and Brandon Fink, and curated by Big Muddy artistic director Brian Enos.

Enos and executive director Erin Warner Prange spoke with Go! Magazine about the reinvented production. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q • There’s a certain spookiness attached to the Lemp legend. Do the dances tap into that?

Prange • Some of them. We found out through the first production that there is a whole contingent of paranormal fans who love Lemp. So we had a lot of new faces at that production who maybe weren’t dance fans before, but simply loved the story of the Lemp family and the ghostly factor in that. I cross my fingers that we’ll have that again.

Q • What will the online version of “Lemp Legends” consist of?

Prange • We’re going to be filming the tour. And it will be like a virtual tour — with a point of view as if you were in the space as an audience member.

Q • The Big Muddy Dance Company has an impressive repertoire. What is it about “Lemp Legends” that makes it a good choice to open the season? Particularly at a time when arts organizations are coping with the pandemic?

Enos • We’ve been planning to reboot “Lemp Legends” pretty much since we did it the first time — to take the first draft of it and improve on it. Once everything changed, we had to kind of pivot and reformulate what it looks like entirely. Luckily, we’ve been able to do that, but there’s been a lot of logistics to work out.

Q • Will the choreography be the same as before?

Enos • Because of the nature of the performance, and the unique confines of each space, we’ve pretty much revamped the entire production. So most of the choreography is completely new. I think there’s only one scene in which the choreography has remained the same.

What “Lemp Legends” • When Available from 7 p.m. Nov. 20 through 7 p.m. Nov. 27 • Where Ticket required for access • How much $20 • More info thebigmuddydanceco.org

"We’ve been planning to reboot 'Lemp Legends' pretty much since we did it the first time — to take the first draft of it and improve on it. Once everything changed, we had to kind of pivot and reformulate what it looks like entirely."

Brian Enos

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