Northrop is the proud home of the Dancer and Choreographer fellowships granted by the Minnesota-based McKnight Foundation. This program gives artists both the financial liberty to focus on their craft through a $25,000 award and time set aside for relaxation, rejuvenation, and reflection to maximize their creative capacity.
This afternoon, 2014 McKnight Fellows Kenna-Camara Cottman, Penny Freeh, Sally Rousse, and Wynn Fricke will arrive at Tofte Lake Center at Norm’s Fish Camp located in Northern Minnesota, 15 miles outside of Ely. The artists will spend 4 days opening themselves creatively and processing their ideas for their fellowship’s scope.
The fellows will stay in cabins that are cleverly named Loon, Rainbow, Splake, and Frog, decorated with materials to prompt creativity.
The retreat center, situated on the crystal clear waters of Tofte Lake, is equipped with the Boundary Waters essentials: water crafts, fishing gear, and docks with stunning views. Maybe kayak-drifting on the glassy water amongst the lily pads is just what the artists need to recognize a tranquil quality they would like to embody in their fellowship year. Or maybe the sounds of the only other resident on Lake Tofte, Stanley the Loon, will inform the soundscape in their next choreographic work.
The retreat grounds also include creative meeting spaces, a rehearsal studio, sauna, and library. Nestled deep in nature, The Aerie is the retreat center rehearsal space, furnished with newly installed Marley flooring. Since I began dancing and performing at the age of 3, I’ve seen and experienced some amazing studios; The Aerie definitely ties for first in the running for most amazing rehearsal spaces – alongside Northrop’s Hubbard Broadcasting Rehearsal Studio of course! Wink, wink. Following the sweltering heat of the aromatic, lavender scented sauna, plunging into the chilled, pristine waters of Northern Minnesota often bring guests clarity. The library, packed with books ranging from topics of philosophy to crazy things like underwater basket weaving, allows artists to freely pick up a good read, sit with it, and then, if they choose to, leave behind a book they brought along for the next creative mind to experience.
Editor's Note: Stay tuned for another blog later this week to get an update of how the fellow's retreat goes!