All posts tagged Rouses Point

NM returns to the North Country!

Norte Maar, Jay, North Country, Adriondacks

Norte Maar celebrates its 10th Anniversary announcing a bold return to its roots in the North Country with two epic summer events. On July 18, Norte Maar will present the first annual Jay Invitational of Clay an exhibition curated by one of the North Country’s most prominent artisans and teachers Jackie Sabourin. On August 1, Norte Maar brings back Fete de Danse, one of its most signature North Country summer dance events.

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Norte Maar, Jason Andrew, Julia K. Gleich, news

From humble beginnings, curator Jason Andrew and choreographer Julia K. Gleich started Norte Maar in 2004 as a way of promoting collaborations in our time. In celebration of our 10 year anniversary we are looking back, admiring our various projects and highlighting some significant articles and reviews. This post features an article by Ann Hawksby on June 12, 2004 in the Clinton County Edition of the Free Trader. It’s our very first article!

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Norte Maar’s Public Project: Echo by Lars Kremer on the cover of Press Republican

Press Republican, Plattsburgh, NY

Image of four dancers performing with Lars Kremer’s specific sculpture “Echo.” The unveiling of the sculpture coincided with the beginning of Camp Pocket Utopia, a week-long summer arts program hosted by Norte Maar in Rouses Point that provides free classes and discussions about dance, drawing, ethics, knitting, mural making and wordplay.

An interactive learning experience at Camp Pocket U(topia)

by Sarah L. Cronk, North Countryman, Plattsburgh, NY

Artist and founder of now closed gallery space Pocket Utopia Austin Thomas collaborated with Norte Maar’s Jason Andrew to bring a summer camp to Rouses Point. The feature encourages families to participate in the interactive and expressive day camp.

Norte Maar returns with fifth season
By Heremiah S. Papaineau
North Countryman, July 26, 2008

Rouses Piont – The village will once again be center stage for the arts scene in the North Country as Norte Mar for collaborative Projects in the Arts welcomes a host of artists an performers.

The international performing and visual arts company will host “SUMMERDANCE RP:08,” a three-week celebration of the arts, beginning Monday, July 28. The event, now in its fifth year, will consist if two art exhibitions, a site-specific dance performance, the conservatory of dance, collaborative art exchanges for children, and the annual “Fete de Danse” concert featuring regional, national, and international dance comapnies.

Norte Maar’s president, Julia K. Gleich, and Jason Andrew, the organization’s director, originally collaborated n the event in 2004, which has grown each year.

“There was a decision to do it and Jason, in his amazing way, pulled everything together in a relatively short period of time to make his vision happen,” said Julia.

“As an arts collaborative group, Norte Maar has contacts al over the world,” said Andrew. “Focusing on a summer festival of arts and having a home in Rouses Point, it seemed quite elementary to create an event that would intergrate with the enthusiasm of our local community whom we love.”

SUMMERDANCE has garnered consistent interests, with dance and art enthusiasts welcoming its return year after year, said the organizers.

“We had no idea it would be so well-receieved, the first year, though we knew the area din’t have this kind of event and there we certainly a need,” said Gleich.

This year’s event will officially kick off with an open house at Norte Maar’s Rouses Point location at 20 Pratt St., Thursday, July 31.   The open house will feature two art exhibition s – “Country Mouse/City Mouse,” which pairs artists from the North County with those of New York City, and “In the Tradition of Ballet Russe,” an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia celebrating the centennial of Diaghilev’s famed Ballet Russe.

SUMMERDANCE will also include something the two call “Off-Set,” which is a dance performance in an non-traditional location. LAst year, Off-Set was held at the Village train station and, in the past, has even included settings such as the from entrance to Wal-Mart in Plattsburgh, adjacent to riding lawn mowers on display.

This year, Off-Set will happen on the same evening as the open house, at the Montgomery Street pier, which Gleich calls, “on of the most spectacular locations on Lake Champlain.”

The pièce de résistance will be Fete de Danse Thursday, August 14 presented in collaboration with the Rouses Point Historical Society. The site of that event is also non-traditional, held at the rink of the Rouses Pointy Civic Center on Lake Street. Gleich, who dances in London and New York City, will provide the featured performance. Other invited guests will also perform on the mixed bill, which will include what is called “the grande march”, when performers and the audience unite on stage.

“After all, where would we be without our supportive and passionate audience,” Andrew asked rhetorically.

Many events will circulate around Fete de Danse, such as a children’s day at the stage, where local daycare children share the stage with professional dancers. Althogether, the events will offer a “rich and varied experience” for those who witness it, said Andrew.

“We love it here and hope that the joy we get being here is shared with people who live here, the people who help make it possible,” said Andrew. “The community comes together and we try to bring an experience that is memorable, that primarily celebrates the community.”

For more information about SUMMERDANCE RP:08, contact Andrew at 314-1516 or visit  Norte Maar’s Web site at

Fete de Danse: An evening of ballet at the Rouses Point Civic Center
by Kevin Couture
Press-Republican, Out & About, Aug 9, 2007 

ROUSES POINT – When Jason Andrew, director of Norte Maar, moved to Rouses Point, he knew he wanted to be involved in his new community.

He had no idea, however, that his dance company would be a key player in the Rouses Point-Champlain Historical Society’s ambitious goal of refurbishing the Delaware & Hudson railroad station on Pratt Street into a museum, information and heritage center.

“We walked over to the Rouses Point Historical Society meeting to introduce ourselves,” Andrew said. “We got involved with the society. So I offered the services of my contacts in the arts to put on a ballet, to do a fundraiser for the society to help them.”

On Thursday, Aug. 16, the company will have its fourth Fete de Danse, an evening of ballet and Irish dancing.

Geri Favreau, president of the Historical Society, remembers when she first heard of ballet coming to the Northern Tier village.

“I thought, wow! Ballet in Rouses Point!”

She said that determination of the volunteers made the fete successful.

“The Historical Society worked together. All the members worked really, really hard. We worked with Jason to make it successful. I think the first year, we had 350 people that came.”

Fundraising aside, such an event is a boon to the Northern Tier, Favreau said.

“I think it fulfills a need in the community and the surrounding area to have that kind of program coming here. You can go to see shows like this in New York City, Montreal, Burlington or even Lake Placid, but to bring it to Rouses Point, I think it just fulfills a need.”

Julie Gleich, a choreographer whose dancers will appear in the show, said “People are more connected here, because everybody is involved.

“When Jason moved here, he asked me if I would join him in producin this big dance event in this unlikely place,” she said, “and this is our fourth summer.”

Echoing the Favreau’s sentiments, Andrew suggested that local residents should take advantage of this one-of-a-kind production.

“It is important for us to make the ballet very accessible, so everyone can come and see the dances. It’s fully produced, and all of the dancers are professionals.”

The collaboration with the Historical Society is a win-win situation, he said.

“It allows us to… to bring in these great dance companies and lets the companies and lets the community experience the best.”

A Festival For All: an interview with Jason Andrew and Julia K. Gleich
by Caroline Kehne
Lake Champlain Weekly, Aug 8, 2007 

Jason Andrew and Julia Gleich are two of the driving forces behind the August 16 dance gala, Fete de Danse 2007. Caroline Kehne recently talked with them about the shaping of this unique North Country dance event.

Jason Andrew is a founder of Norte Maar For Collaborative Projects In The Arts, a not-for-profit organization that is the principal organizer of Fete de Danse, as well as numerous other arts projects. Andrew plits his time between his Pratt Street home in Rouses Point and New York City, where he is actively involved in the arts community.

LCW: Norte Maar has a string of successful collaborations with local community organizations, including the Rouses Point Historical Society, the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts, and Evergreen Assisted Living (“Arts At Evergreen”), to name a few. Is it difficult to find and audience for arts here?

JASON ANDREW: It has always been my belief that great art exists everywhere, be it in the rural communities of the North Country or the populated streets of a major city. I am continually surprised by the art and he artists that I encounter in both places. While the audience for arts up here may appear to be thin, it is just as compassionate and sophisticated. It has always been the goal of Norte Maar to collaborate with other arts/cultural entities, elevating the imaginative possibilities in us all.

LCW: Do you have a formula for picking a successful project?

JA: A project and its backer must have passion for the art, dedication to the worthiness of the project and commitment – a willingness to see the project through.

LCW: Norte Maar’s projects seem more edgy than the normal artistic fare one encounters in conservative rural communities. Does that pose a problem?

JA: It can be a struggle at times. I’ve nicknamed it “SRT” (slow response time). After I have committed to a project, there is a period where I gather support, fundraise, and organize volunteers. This can take some convincing. But more often than not we have succeeded in rallying the communities around our unique exhibition and unusual performances. I could not do what we do without the support and equally dedicated communities where we present art. Of course, there is a limit to the fundraising I can do here in the North Country and I use New York City supporters and artists as a resource – I spread it all around.

Fete de Danse is the perfect example of this. Who in their right minds would believe that world-class ballet could come to a hockey rink in the North Country?

LCW: Norte Maar has worked with many dance organizations, including the Albany-Berkshire Ballet, the North Country Ballet Ensemble, and Vermont’s Burklyn Ballet Theatre to name a few. This year, you will have return visits from the Short School of Irish Dancing (Plattsburgh and Montreal) and Andrew J. Nemr with CPD Plus (New York City), as well as new additions to Fete, including the Adirondack Dance Company (Plattsburgh) and Equipe Capoeira Brasileira (Montreal). You clearly seek out an eclectic mix of dance styles – classical and modern. How is that received?

JA: Without question, Fete de Danse has become one the North Country’s great performing art events and audiences travel from all over the Northeast to attend this unique event. The diversity of the performing companies is key. We have local sensations performing on the same bill as an internationally recognized ballet company.

LCW: You’re an advocate and supporter of rural arts projects and yet you had to return to New York City to find financial success working in the museum and gallery world. What do you say to those artists who may want to work and live in the North Country, but may be getting the message that there’s no future here?

JA: It is true that I commute back and forth from New York City. It is there that I have access to a financial base that can support the caliber of arts to which Norte Maar is committed. Access to funds in the North Country is very limited.

I do support local artists living and working in the North Country…I have held many dinners discussing the dilemma surrounding making and seeling art in here. My advice: always return to the essence of making art. Making art is what defines you as a person. Making the art is ten times more important than selling it. Define your success by finishing a new sculpture or painting another picture.

It’s also important to remember that financing art has historically been difficult. Many are discouraged that our nation doesn’t do more to finance its artists and its art organizations. I believe it is the responsibility of the individual and local communities to invest in the art that surrounds them. Attend a dance recital, volunteer as a docent at a museum. Get involved, collaborate.


Julia K Gleich is the founder and artistic director of the London-based Gleich Contemporary Ballet. She is also a member of the board of Norte Maar and has played a major role in Fete de Danse since its beginning four years ago. Her company makes its fourth appearance in Fete de Danse this year; she serves as a choreographer for many of the pieces performed.

LCW: You, along with Norte Maar founder Jason Andrew have been instrumental in shaping Fete de Danse. How did your collaboration begin?

JULIA GLEICH: Jason Andrew and I have known each other for over 15 years and have found great support, enthusiasm and shared creative visiion. Through the years we have danced together and produced evenings of concert dance as well as site-specific works. We have followed each other across the country and now that I live in the U.K., we still manage to find a way to create together. Of course, this is in addition to his other artistic projects for Norte Maar.

I admire Jason’s artistic sensibility and trust his judgment. He is a kind of a Diaghilev for me. He generates terrific ideas, brings artists together to collaborate and brings a historical perspective as well. I consider myself fortunate to be able to be a creative part of Norte Maar.

LCW: Most think of Fete de Danse as one night of ballet; however, that’s only the culmination of several weeks of hard work with dancers. Could you describe that period in the life of a working dancer?

JG: We bring a group of dancers together for only two or three weeks. We have daily technique class Monday through Saturday starting at 9:30 a.m. There are some local students who attend this class as well. It is a nice opportunity for them to see terrific dancers up close and learn from them.

We may have a stretch class, a pointe class, a men’s class, etc. before beginning rehearsals. We rehearse from about 1:00 to 5:00 and then may have an evening run-thru. That’s a total of about six hours of dancing per day. Not all of them rehearse at once, but they will be on call, usually watching and supporting each other. Some of the dancers teach class. This year, Claire Schmid is working with me and the dancers on techniques for improvisation. This helps with the creation of new choreography as well. And then in the evenings we sit around, watch ballet videos and discuss dance from all kinds of perspectives. Sometimes we become a bunch of nerds talking about dance, art, and technique! It can be a kind of a dance think-tank.

LCW: Your pool of talent includes local, regional and international dancers. Could you tell us a little about them and how they come to be a part of Gleich Dances?

JG: We bring up dancers who are intelligent, curious and lovely people. This is very important because we have to spend so much time with them. I ask dancers whom I like and whom I think will enjoy the experience. There are some who come back every year. This is Marc St. Pierre’s third year with us. It is not only the dancing, but also the community and the excitement of the event that grabs us all. Some of the dancers have been my students, some of them I have worked with at Burklyn Ballet Theater in Johnson, Vermont. Two I met in London. I try to bring a diverse group so they can meet new people. This year we have the largest group ever, nine dancers. And the most ambitious ballet, too!

LCW: In addition to Fete de Danse, you also have quirky “sideshows” that such as “Tutus at Wal-Mart” where the mass merchandiser allowed your dancers to perform short dance pieces in the parking lot. The idea was to take ballet away from its traditional setting and make it accessible to non-traditional audiences. Whose idea was that and how was it received?

JG: Jason and I have created many site-specific dances together. One of the first was in a drained pool in NYC. We always have felt that ballet doesn’t get sufficient opportunity to exist off the proscenium stage and so the so-called “WalMart ballets” became an essential part of our mission to share ballet and dance in general.

We often made a kind of pastiche of the historic works we chose for these pieces. In the beginning WalMar tolerated us and then they started to welcome us. Unfortunately we were never able to get financial support for the project.

This year Cordelia Sand from Westport generated choreography for the dance that was performed August 2nd in the Rouses Point train station. She enlivened the space and created an event of movement and energy in the old station… We were glad to bring a local choreographer into the Norte Maar project. Of course, I felt a bit extraneous so I leant enthusiastic energy.

LCW: Since the beginning, proceeds from Fete de Danse have benefited the Rouses Point Historical Society, which hopes to restore the D&H train station on Pratt Street and transform it into a museum. This year, visitors were led by a “conductor” Jason Andrew from Norte Maar headquarters at 20 Pratt Street up the block to the tour station, meet with historical society volunteers, and see improvisational dance in and around the station.

JG: We thought it might be nice to create a piece to celebrate the station. It is a whimsical idea. But we found ourselves visiting the station with the Mayor of Rouses Point [George Rivers] and Geri Favreau, President of the Historical Society. Well, we all got so excited about it. And suddenly it was a reality.

There wasn’t a lot of time to create and sometimes that is fine. I particularly enjoy working quickly and getting inspiration spontaneously. Sometimes the dance is the easy part. I know there was a lot of preparation around the station. Volunteers worked hard. Costuming also takes time. Jason and I have many other ideas – some of them for European locations and some local. But we have to keep that a secret for now.

LCW: This year you are choreographing a work with composer Paul Siskind of the Crane School of Music, who has been a collaborator on past editions of Fete de Danse. The work, the Leger Ballet, will have its world premiere in Rouses Point as part of Fete de Danse 2007 and commemorates the visit of world renowned cubist painter Fernand Leger who summered in Rouses Point in 1943-45. Here is a collaboration between a composer a choreographer and dance company to commemorate a brief period in the life of another artist (Leger). This underscores the connection between arts, culture and history and literally brings them close to home.

JG: The Leger Ballet epitomizes the Norte Maar mission. I am so excited to be making this ballet. It has been on my mind for 10 months. Slowly the ideas take root and shift over time. We came up with a synopsis and took it to Paul, who was eager to tackle the project. So, we have a commissioned score from him.

But there is also Bill Pfaff from Plattsburgh who composed one segment of music and Lola Perrin, a composer from London who also created a segment. The collaboration isn’t just about the choreographer and composer; it is also everyone who inspires and assists with the work. Jason is designing a set for this piece and he has had help from Rouses Point resident Dick Baker. There are people helping to make costumes and helping in ways that support the vision and keep us all going.

It is a labor of love. I dream of expanding this piece and taking to more audiences. The ideas in it are beautiful and the imagery is interesting. I always get nervous about how a piece will be received but this one shoul have something for everyone. I guess I could say that I am proud of it. I hope it does Norte Maar and Rouses Point proud, too.

Unique Offering of Norte Maar
by Amy Colgan-Niemeyer
North Countryman, Feb 10, 2007

Plattsburgh – Norte Maar is preparing to bring top visual and performing artists and instructors to the North Country again this year.

Two Mediums, One World
A variety of events are planned, beginning this month with an exhibition of Hermine Ford’s paintings and John Newman’s sculptures, presented by Plattsburgh State Art Museum in collaboration with Norte Maar. The exhibition is  called “Two Mediums, One World.” Text by Raphael Rubinstein, senior editor at Art in America, will accompany the works.

Ford, who teaches at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, combines textiles and mosaics with painting and drawing which is inspired by the natural world–landscapes, bends in rivers, shapes of stones. John Newman is a sculptor of metaphors. He mixes metal and stone, paper and glass with advanced technology and primal artifacts.

“These are two very different artists,” said Jason Andrew, director of Norte Maar. “Both are probably two of the most preeminent artists that are alive and working in New York City today.”

The exhibit will include about ten sculptures by Newman and a number of pieces by Ford including large, shaped canvasses, works on paper and charcoal drawings. In addition, a wall installation that Ford created specifically for Plattsburgh State Art Museum will include some of her smaller paper pieces “floating off the wall.”

“It’s really exceptional to be able to bring their work up to Plattsburgh,” Andrew said. “and let all of the young artists that are there, and the community, experience something that is quite different.”

Legends in Ballet
“Margot & Rudy,” will open in July, featuring photographs of ballet legends Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev.

Fonteyn and Nureyev met in 1961, shortly after the latter defected from the former Soviet Union. Their first performance together was at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in “Giselle,” in Febuary 1962.

“Their performance together brought the house down,” Andrew Said. “and from there on they became the most famous partners in ballet history.”

They were a team until Fonteyn’s retirement in the late 1970s.

Photographs of the dancers before they met, of that first performance together, and of their subsequent years as dance partners, as well as books and other information will ve on display.

One of three performing arts experience offered by Norte Maar is The Summer Conservatory. In its fourth year, this summer dance programme offers aspiring dancers the chance to study with top instructors.

To accommodate the schedules of the many different dancers Andrew is trying to bring in, this year’s Conservatory has been pushed ahead from the last two weeks in July to the first two weeks in August.

Julia Gleich is returning with her Gleich Dances Contemporary Ballet company from London. Andrew noted that they are working on bringing up a specialist in one of three modern dance techniques named after teacher- choreographer, Merce Cunningham, and dancer-choreographers, Jose Limon and Martha Graham.

A special ballet, choreographed by Gleich, based on the history of famous modern painter, Fernand Laeger is planned as well. Leger stopped in Rouses Point on his way to an opening in Montreal in 1943 and fell in love with it. He spent three summers there. Every dancer who trains at the Conservatory will be dancing in this new ballet.

“There’s a lot of opportunities [for dancers] to train, but our faculties are really to generate performers,” Andrew said.

“To help them learn in class and to train and then be able to perform.”

Off-Set 2007
Also on tap is Off-Set 2007 which will feature various dance installations taking place around the North Country where people would not normally see a dance. Last year, they presented a ballet in the parking lot of Platsburgh’s Wal-Mart. This year, dance and theatrical companies will perform at locations specified on a map.

“It’ll be spread out over days and times, so it’ll be kind of a treasure hunt of the North Country,” Andrew said.

On the night of Fete de Danse ,as people arrive for the event, the Off-Set companies will be stationed in and around the Civic Center, participating in the free program.

The Fete de Danse 2007
“We’re shooting to try and have one very strict ballet company, and contemporary ballet company, tap,” Andrew said.

“and we’re looking also into a dance group that does Capoeira, which is the Brazilian fighting dance.”

Fete de Danse is present by Norte Maar in affiliation with the Rouses Point-Champlain Historical Society. This year they received a sizable grant from New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) which will help fund the dance companies and some event itself. Each year some historical influence is included in the program, such as the past piece entitled, “D&H.”

“They are great people, so passionate about teh area where they live.”

“It has been a wonderful experience,” added Geri Favreau, Historical Society presedent.

“The Historical Society looks forward to working with Jason and making history from many, many years to come.”


Norte Maar asks the North Country, “Shall we dance?”
By By Paula Routly
Seven Days, Aug 2, 2006 

Rouses Point has seen better days. Last fall the town’s number-one employer, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, announced its impending departure; the drug company employs a tenth of Rouses Point’s 2350 residents and, until recently, ranked as the largest private employer in the North Country. In a recent New York Timesarticle the mayor described the potential impact of the job losses as “Rouses Point’s 9/11.”

Even at the peak of summer boating season, the place has a “bridge to nowhere” feel about it. About a half-dozen empty storefronts, including the downtown Save-A-Lot supermarket, mar the charming but dated business district that runs for several blocks along the west side of Lake Champlain. Yellow caution tape encircles a corner lot piled high with burned wood and rubble — the remains of the landmark Holland Hotel. Last weekend, a group of listless teens walked north past the abandoned stores, toward Canada.


By Dan Heath, Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Steps in right direction – Spanish, New York dancers add class to Rouses Point event

Plattsburgh – Dancers from near and far will be among those performing at the Fete de Danse 2006, a benefit for the Rouses Point Historical Society.

Aljeandra Alonso, 15, of Barcelona, Spain, and Tiffany Mellard, 17, of the Bronx are staying with Joe, Pam and Leah Damour on Point au Fer.

Pam said she met Alejandra’s aunt three years ago, and members of the two families have visited on both sides of the ocean every year.

“Two years ago, she (Alejandra) came to visit. Last year, we visited her,” Pam said. “This year she came to visit us again.”

Pam’s daughter, Leah said her mother new Alejandra was a dancer and that she was going to be there during the festival.

“We told her to bring her shoes, and she found out when she got here she was going to dance,” Leah said.

Alejandra has been dancing and taking classes since she was 4 years old.

“I just like dancing. I like the music, too.”

Alejandra studies at what she called a small school of about 100 students, called Esclat. She said her instructor, Silvia Paz, teaches contemporary and classical ballet.

“I’ve studied with her since I started. She’s a very good teacher. I love her.”

Tiffany said she also has been dancing since she was 4 years old. She studies with Krystal Hall-Glass at the Harlem School of the Arts two days a week and attend the LaGuardia School for the Perfroming Arts.

“(Norte Maar Director) Jason Andrew saw one of our performances and offered to send some of us up on scholarship. My dance director at the school asked me if I was interested.”

Tiffany said  dancing is fun and healthy and has become her passion over time.
This is her first time in the North Country.

“I like it up here. It’s peaceful. It’s completely different from where I live. I don’t like the mosquitoes, but it’s fun.”
The two dancers have enjoyed their free time, swimming in Lake Champlain, riding bikes, having ice cream and getting towed by a motorboat while riding an inner tube.

Fete de Danse 2006 is presented by Norte Maar for Collaborative Projects in the Arts. Andrew said this is the third year of the not-for-profit has held the dance festival and the two-week Summer Conservatory.

He said master teachers are invited to participate, with this being the third year that Julia Gleich and members of Gleich Dancers Contemporary Ballet have participated.

Also teaching is Ernesta Corvino. The New York-based dancer has experience with a long history of ballet teachers, Andrew said.

“This is a unique experience for rural dance schools. These are some if the best working dance teachers in the world.”

Alejandra and Tiffany are rehearsing to perform in one part of “The Mel Medley,” an original ballet created by Gleich based on the music of Mel Torme.

Both dancers are enjoying the chance to receive top-level instruction in conditioning, technique and  characterization classes each day.

They will also take part in performances in front of the Plattsburgh Wal-Mart every half hour from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, July 29. Gleich is collaborating with Norte Maar personnel to present ballet based on adapted scenes and classical choreography from “La Sylphide.”

“They blow a whistle, and we dance for 10 minutes, the rest for 20 minutes,” Tiffany said.

Andrew said that is a chance to bring what is a typically inaccessible art to the people.

“The people coming in to shop will become an unexpected audience.”

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