Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
May 25th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Breaking Down Barriers

ae firedance1Sixth annual National Dance Week Santa Cruz challenges preconceived notions of what dance can be

What do the post office, cafés, intersections and an abandoned Wienerschnitzel have in common? They will all—believe it or not—be transformed into performance sites in honor of National Dance Week Santa Cruz 2013 (NDWSC).

The sixth annual county-wide event will take place April 18-26, and feature numerous performances in addition to more than 100 free dance classes—from ballet to samba to hip-hop to African—open to the public. Created to recognize and grow the local dance community, NDWSC brings creative movement directly to the people, with performances in the street, in local dance studios, in community centers and in delightfully unexpected venues (in 2010, three dancers from The Aerial Collective twirled while dangling from the roof of Lulu Carpenter’s in downtown.)

The fun kicks off on April 18 with “Dancing in the Streets,” a three-hour extravaganza to be held on Pacific Avenue and Cooper Street, during which hundreds of dancers from Motion Pacific, Marsea Marquis: Dance of Brazil, Cabrillo College, Te Hau Nui and the Samba Stilt Circus (to name a few) will showcase their talents on three stages.ae crosswalkAs part of the “Dance in Unlikely Places” segment of National Dance Week Santa Cruz 2012, local dancers gave an impromptu performance while crossing a street in downtown.

“This event was created to inspire our community to dance, to witness dance, [to] strip away the boundaries of accessibility, [and] make it available to everyone,” says Abra Allan, director and founder of Motion Pacific and producer of NDWSC for the past six years. “If we are successful in that, we feel that we have done our job.”

While “Dancing in the Streets” invites the non-dance community to participate as the audience, the second facet of NDWSC, “Open Classes,” encourages everyone—experienced or not—to try out dance first-hand. Classes are tailored to all skill levels, from beginner to advanced, and take place in venues around town.

The third segment of NDWSC, “Dance in Unlikely Places,” pushes dance off the stage and into the urban landscape, with pop-up performances—some choreographed, some made up on the spot—on rooftops, in bookshops, restaurants, and even some government buildings.

“I think it is incredibly valuable to witness dance in as diverse of environments as possible,” says Allan. “It lends itself so beautifully to Dance Week’s goal of making dance more accessible to everyone.”

ae firedance2By stepping outside the traditional stage setting and in some cases moving outdoors, “Dance in Unlikely Places” erases the barrier between performer and audience. At each site, unsuspecting passersby are confronted with a performance art piece unfolding before their eyes. 

“The permeability between performer and viewer and the altered form of discourse with a place [are all part of] the magic of site-work,” says past participant Sarah Day. “It is an exposed activity [with] no protection of the ‘fourth wall,’ as you might have in a theater. The only barrier sometimes is the energy you as a performer can delineate.”

By breaking down the boundary that separates the performer and the viewer, “Dance in Unlikely Places” challenges the traditional definition of an audience.

“For me, that is what’s exciting about site-specific work—it’s not demanding that an audience go into ‘audience mode,’” says Cynthia Strauss, a performance artist who will be presenting a piece from last year’s Fringe Festival on the steps of the post office. “It allows for a different way to witness people in common spaces, opening up their sense of wonder and their ability to be in the moment. Perhaps we are audiences in our pedestrian life more often than we think we are.”

Strauss may have claimed the post office, but Dixie FunLee Mills, resident choreographer at The 418 Project, has her eyes set on the abandoned Wienerschnitzel on Soquel Avenue in Santa Cruz. There, she plans to present segments of “Falling Up!” her most recent performance art piece, which debuted March 29 at The 418. “I’m hoping to tickle people’s artistic selves,” says Mills. “I mean, who would have thought? A dance piece at an abandoned fast-food parking lot!”

And therein lies the beauty of NDWSC: a week full of events that deconstruct our preconceived notions of dance—from setting to style to the role of the audience.

 “We’ve gotten away with some really amazing things, and never really [been] asked to move on,” Strauss says with a laugh. “I feel as long as your intention isn’t to offend or adversely call attention to the space of those around you, it is really amazing what people will allow you to do.” 


National Dance Week Santa Cruz runs April 18-26. A full schedule of events will be available in the April 18 issue of Good Times. For more information, visit santacruzdance.com.  Photos: Hana Campbell

ae Stripe2

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival