Performances & Events

Join us this summer as we celebrate our 10th anniversary with 4 distinct evening performances and additional workshops, all open to the public!  Events are held in The Aerie Dance and Performance Studio at Tofte Lake Center, 2209 Fernberg Road, Ely, MN.  There is parking near the building.  All performances are at 7:00 PM.  A $10 donation is suggested. 

 Grant Cutler & Aby Wolf

Grant Cutler & Aby Wolf

saturday july 14

aby wolf, grant Cutler & The palace ensemble

Join us for an evening of new electro-acoustic works composed by Aby Wolf & Grant Cutler, and performed by Palace Ensemble, a cast of renowned musicians as comfortable in experimentation as virtuosity. Blurring the lines between ambient neo-minimalism, chamber music, and electro-R&B, Palace Ensemble delivers a gateway from near-silent meditation to full harmonic abundance, experienced as a union of sonic dreamstates and coursing, rhythmic waves of unbounded sound.

Inspired by the imminent universal need to find footing in an unstable world, these new compositions explore uncertainty, on both a personal and global scale. Through a creative process based in improvisation, and the resulting atypical song structures, “Champagne Confetti” is a practice in embracing uncertainty. Palace Ensemble’s performance realizes the heart of the new work: choosing community to find belonging in the unknown. Banding together as artists and musicians, we prioritize solidarity and communion to generate positive change, uniting through artistic growth.  

 Shapiro & Smith Dance    photo: v paul v

Shapiro & Smith Dance    photo: v paul v

friday August 3

shapiro & smith dance

Shapiro & Smith Dance performs an exciting repertory featuring: BOLERO, a fierce, athletic work that celebrates teamwork, the fighting spirit, and the power of people working together;  BURNING AIR a provocative retelling of the Great Hinckley Fire and SHIRT a laugh-out-loud, absurd negotiation between three men over a shirt. 

“Shapiro & Smith Dance - athletic, sharp-edged dancing, and a daring theatricality.” - New York Times

 Jacqueline Ultan                                          

Jacqueline Ultan                                          

Friday august 10

ottie the mink trio

Ottie the Mink is a Minneapolis-based trio featuring Jacqueline Ultan, cello; Tim O'Keefe, percussion/oud/duduk & more;  and Laura Harada, violin 

 Tim O'Keefe

Tim O'Keefe

 Laura Harada

Laura Harada

The trio plays with the rhythms and sounds of Brazil and the Middle East, blending strings, percussion and winds in their take on traditional tunes and their own original compositions.

Featuring acoustic instruments, the trio explores sonic territory inspired by the north woods, organically developing improvisations into adventurous explorations of sound. 


monday-friday, august 13-17

stuart pimsler dance & theater

...offering a week-long Workshop for Community Members, daily Yoga Classes,  and an Evening Performance of  Terra Incognita and clips from MATINEE  -  all in one week!

yoga: August 13-17 Monday-friday  9:00-9:45 AM

Join SPDT'S Artistic Co-Director Suzanne Costello as she leads us in 45-minute classes combining movement from a dance/theater lens with yoga. Classes are open to all levels.

Workshop: monday-friday August 13-17  10:00-11:30 am 

Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater (SPDT) is looking for a small cast of community members to join in their work Terra Incognita, which will be performed at Tofte Lake Center on Friday, August 17, 7:00 pm. 

Terra Incognita, a new work by Suzanne Costello, blends movement, film, and voice to explore the emotional underpinnings of the natural seasons as metaphors for the stages of life. This new work features Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater (SPDT) Company Artists and an intergenerational chorus of community members that harken the change of seasons. V. Paul Virtucio's film design and Merritt Rodriguez's scenic elements elaborate on this movement montage that travels from fiercely physical to serene and sublime. 

All ages are welcome; vocal/singing experience is necessary. Community performers will learn a couple of vocal parts and simple movement sections. If you'd like to be part of this workshop please contact Liz Engelman at 218-365-7769.

Rehearsals will follow daily morning yoga classes, August 13-17. 

performance: August 17 friday 7:00 PM

SPDT's Artistic Co-Directors Suzanne Costello & Stuart Pimsler will feature community members in  clips from Terra Incognita and the dance company will perform excerpts from one of their newest works, MATINEE. Both pieces were originally developed at Tofte Lake Center. MATINEE has toured nationally and throughout the state of Minnesota since 2016.

MATINEE is a dance/theater/film adaptation of American avant-garde novelist Robert Coover’s New Yorker short story, created and co-directed by Artistic Co-Directors Stuart Pimsler and Suzanne Costello in collaboration with filmmaker Andrew Welken.

MATINEE revives the thrilling days of yesteryear when cinema was for millions the chief purveyor of dreams and escapism."- Linda Shapiro, City Pages

“A sumptuous multidisciplinary collaboration” and“a multimedia export that Pimsler can be proud of.” - Rebecca Ritzel, Star Tribune

SPDT’s performance work has garnered national and international critical acclaim for over 35 years. Following the performance, Tofte Lake Center Director Liz Engelman will facilitate SPDT’s signature Talk Piece, an audience-performer conversation.

More information about SPDT here.