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SMC Alumna starts dance company in South Bend

| Wednesday, April 5, 2017

After graduation, Saint Mary’s alumna Hannah Fischer started her own dance company in South Bend and is now choreographing dances for the upcoming play “Lucky, Liar, Loser,” to be performed at Saint Mary’s Moreau Center for the Arts.

Fischer said she wanted to major in women’s studies and dance before there were programs at Saint Mary’s, so she combined them in a self-designed major along with a major in humanistic studies.

“I did a self-design major at Saint Mary’s in digital media, women’s studies, and art,” she said.

This liberal arts education at Saint Mary’s prepared Fischer for all of her jobs she held after graduation

“It’s demonstrative of the education I got at Saint Mary’s,” she said. “And people ask me what I do at my job … I have been [a] jack of all trades.”

Part of Fischer’s job in Saint Louis was working with incarcerated youth through dance and theatre.

“That work really centered around 13 to 18-year-old young women incarcerated,” she said. “I did that for three years and would love to do that again.”

When she came back to South Bend, Fischer said she wanted to start using dance as a means by which to have a conversation.

“I just found the dancers I knew in town and found some [other people] that weren’t dancers, but wanted to have conversations that use movement to have the conversation,” Fischer said. “Not everyone I work with is a classically trained ballet dancer.”

Fischer got involved with Saint Mary’s upcoming show when one of the dance professors asked her to help. This lead to Fischer and playwright Casey Whitaker exchanging information about the show, she said.

“Once I read the description [of the show] I was really interested in being part of the process,” Fischer said. “So when I read about the topic … I was like ‘that is very right up my alley of what I am interested in,’ which is interdisciplinary work that is not just theater for theater sake, or dance for dance sake, but is going to push a conversation along … and to bring people in to the conversation.”

Whitaker said she wrote the play to be a “dramedy.”

“It’s this hard, serious topic, but it’s also very comedic,” she said. “It’s a multimedia project, so there’s dance and sketch comedy and we’re using this projector to do shadow puppetry.”

Fischer said she wants to have dialogues with hard topics in her work.

“At the end of the day, I am an artist and I want to have conversations … especially the tough conversations … [those that are] not going to beat around the bush,” Fischer said.

Fischer said that she thinks the new show will be groundbreaking for the community.

“I think Saint Mary’s has never seen a show like this and South Bend has never seen a show like this,” she said.

“Lucky, Liar, Loser” will be performed from April 27 through 30 at the Moreau Center for the Arts at Saint Mary’s.

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