Supposedly, the end of the world is right around the corner. Perhaps the Mayans are right about the impending 2012 apocalyptic doom. Or perhaps their calendar simply ran out of space. Regardless, Kanopy Dance is revealing its take on the matter in its upcoming show, titled “End Times.”

This show is highly dramatic, intensely physical and exceptionally thought-provoking. Think of it as an adventure movie with interesting plot twists and constant action. “End Times” embodies five separate dances, each mixing modern/contemporary dancing with eclectic music while adding a layer to the overall apocalyptic theme. Lisa Thurrell and Robert Cleary, the artistic directors of Kanopy Dance, have committed to producing their most compelling choreography for this performance. The show will open with “Prayer,” a piece choreographed by Thurrell and set to Arvo P?rtis music. This performance maintains a typical modern feel and is danced by the pre-professional dancers of Kanopy Company II. From here, the show develops into an edgy barrage of eccentricity at its best.

The metaphoric masterpiece “Cassandra’s Cry,” also created by Thurrell, expresses movement heavily influenced by modern dance legend Martha Graham. This work is creepy, beautiful and ambitious, as it dares one to interpret the truth revealed from prophetic knowledge. “End Times,” the closing number choreographed by Cleary, will feature end-of-the-world poetry tweaked into musical format. Set to music created by artist Thomas Powell, the piece is focused on redemption versus chaos and contains exciting moments of intentional near-collisions.

Prestigious guest choreographer Martin Lofsnes, a former principal dancer with the Martha Graham Company, creates an eerie work, titled “What Was, Still Is.” The piece embodies a sense of looking at a village and questioning the acceptance of its members. Finally, resident choreographer Kerry Parker releases all evil in her piece “Pithos,” inspired by the story of Pandora unleashing devastating havoc from her vessel. This abstract work eases up on the thrashing in order to focus on somber emotions and a final, uplifting sense of hope. Set to music by local band Brother’s Grimm, this performance is a compelling addition to the overall apocalyptic theme.

“End Times” is a show that is completely different from anything Kanopy Dance has done in the past. The choreography tests previously unexplored movement that has been molded and refined on the dancers over the course of several months. Since the art is live, every moment within the performance encourages an emotion that cannot be re-experienced.

Lisa Thurrell said the show will attract a diverse group of audience members.

“It’s live, it’s real and it’s electrifying energy,” Thurrell said.” I think it will be appealing to more than just those who know a lot about dance, so bring along anyone who wants to see a satisfying performance. Also, I feel that the show will draw interest from not only women, but men as well. The physical excellence is astounding.”

The goal of “End Times” is to leave audience members feeling enriched, satisfied and maybe even a little confused. The dancers display immense levels of vulnerability in order to communicate a thought-provoking message. While audience members may not understand every aspect of this message, they are encouraged to soak in the experience. The overall kinesthetic connection between the audience and the dancers is inspiring, and it results in an overwhelming urge to get up and dance. In an exciting city full of artists and interesting people, Kanopy Dance enriches the Madison community with invigorating dance excellence and tremendous performance quality.

Tickets for “End Times” can be purchased by calling the Overture Center at 608-258-4141, purchasing online at or by direct purchase at the box office. Shows are this Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets cost $14 for students and $24 otherwise. For more information about Kanopy Dance, visit