Miming to the Music: Free Mime Workshop and Concert

Published: January 23, 2014 | Read Time: 2 minutes

Blending together the two most unlikely art forms comes a marimba and a mime in one event. The Sounds of Silence: Music, Marimba & Mime, sponsored by The Satellite Salon Series, is weaving together the noisiest of instruments with the quietist of performers in two free events both on Saturday, January 25 at Southern Utah University.

This unlikely duo is percussionist and SUU instructor Lynn Vartan and professional mime and choreographer C. Nicholas Johnson as the mime.

“Each person in attendance will learn about the principles of miming, an art form that is rarely seen at this high of level,” said Vartan. “The Sounds of Silence Series makes available artists like Johnson to viewers who are unlikely to ever see and perform next to a professional mime.”

And it is this opportunity to allow anyone from toddlers to youths to senior to participate in a free workshop for families at 10:30 a.m. in SUU’s South Hall. Those in attendance will learn about the art of miming and percussion by participating in the hands on workshop.

The opportunities continue that evening at 7:30 p.m. in the Thorley Recital Hall in a free concert where Vartan will accompany on the drums to Johnson’s mime performance.

Vartan initiated the Satellite Salon series in 2000 as an arena to bring together art forms not typically seen as a pair. A semi-annual event, the Series has brought in the past dancers, violinists, painters, singers and quilters as a chance to weave the art genres in ways that wouldn’t typically happen.

“Combining unlikely art forms gives viewers a chance to see creativity in its truest form. Blending genres of arts gives children to adults the chance to experience art they might now ever if this series wasn’t in place,” stated Vartan.

Johnson, a professional mime, was trained in New York City with renowned Polish mime director and then became a members of multiple theatres and companies. In 1980 he co-founded the Goldston School for Mimes, where he fused his eclectic training into an artistic version of choreography that reflects both mime and dance.

This world-renowned mime currently teaches mime theatre, modern dance and movement for actors at Wichita State University.

On the noisier end of the spectrum, Vartan is a percussionist for Southwest Chamber Music, which is a two-time Grammy nominee in the “Best Classical Album of the Year.” She has been featured in several ensembles and is currently producing two solo albums. Vartan is currently a faculty member within SUU’s Department of Music as a percussionist.

Along with performing for The Satellite Salon, Johnson will also be working with local high school and university student performers to instruct on dance and theatre movement techniques that will enhance audience impact.

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