Boise’s LED performance group returns to the Morrison Center

Since LED debuted in 2013, the Boise-based media company has been turning heads. It all started under the name Lauren Edson + Dancers. This eponymous debut never defined this company. He continued to grow, transform and expand his vision with each performance, transforming LED into a representation of collaboration and artistic excellence.

Founded by Idaho choreographer and dancer Edson, and songwriter and musician Andrew Stensaas – they’re a married couple – the seemingly unstoppable momentum of this group stopped just as it started to soar in the early 2020. There was a tour in the works, and Dance magazine had named the company as one of the “25 to watch” for 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic disrupted live performances around the world.

LED took this moment to heart, and in stride.

“The immediate change in the environment forced us to consider… our role as artists in this community,” Edson said in a FaceTime interview. “At that point, we decided to keep it simple and be with our family – to be there for our two boys – and figure out how we’re going to be doing. Then the future of the performing arts looked bleak. We had to take the baby steps and do it the only way we could, and deal with these events. “

So, during the months of pandemic containment, Edson and Stensaas partnered with culinary artists at KIN, an experience-driven restaurant in downtown Boise, for its creative ‘piKINic’ series of picnic-style alfresco dining. -nique and inventive entertainment. LED dancers and musicians masked themselves, remained socially distant from the audience, danced and played hard.

In their creative COVID bubble, they produced exclusive online videos for their audiences; shot the movie “Silver City”, which will be released independently of the stage show; collaborated with the internationally renowned company Bandaloop; and brought half of the “Silver City” scene to life for its live comeback.

With all of her company on board, LED’s “Silver City” is gearing up to disappear after nearly two years of no live entertainment.

This is the second Boise core arts group to move indoors so far this season.

Live cinematic experience on stage

LED’s work has an unmistakable cinematic quality – from rich, layered lighting, sets and musical scores to literal use of projection and film on stage. The Morrison Center show “Silver City” seeks to take that to the next level, Stensaas said.

“You are immersed in the cinema on stage which is magnified by the live performance,” he said.

“Silver City” gives a contemporary twist to the mythology of the American West – taking inspiration from the genre “spaghetti western” against a backdrop of Idaho. It’s the story of a lonely stranger looking to make his way through the world and the townspeople he meets in the local saloon. These artists hold their cards near the waistcoat, and don’t give too much detail. And while the story seems straightforward, they want to overthrow these well-known movie tropes.

The location is the actual ghost town of Silver City in Owyhee County – where the company shot for the film and where the characters evolve.

“This is the first time we’ve tried to approach something in a top-down cinematic way – and it works,” Edson said. “You see the intimacy of a character revealing something about himself as an individual through physicality, and the way the whole is constructed, audiences feel like voyeurs watching their lives.”

“It’s like a melodramatic Easter egg, imbued with depth and emotion,” she added. “It goes easy and it tastes good.”

What makes it work is the way the dancers and musicians interact with the film, and the high level of theatricality exerted by the set, lighting and sound design, Edson said.

The return to live indoor performances is also frightening. Strict protocols will be put in place. Spectators must present proof of vaccination or a negative test carried out within 48 hours. And masks will be mandatory for everyone in the building.

“We didn’t decide to do it lightly,” Stensaas said. “We know that will limit the number of people willing to show up, but the stakes are too high. What we hope is that for those who come it will be special. “

Learn more at

2021SteveSmith LED 2.jpg
This LED promotional photo for her upcoming “Silver City” features dancer Tony Carnell, left, and singer and musician Angel Abaya. Photograph by Steve Smith

Go see him

What: The “silver city” of LEDs

When: 8 p.m. Saturday 23 October

Or: Morrison Center, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane, Boise.

Tickets: $ 69.00, $ 39.50, $ 29.50 at

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Dana Oland writes on a wide variety of artistic and cultural subjects in the Treasure Valley. If you enjoy seeing stories like this, consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.
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