Dance and the Dancer: “It’s Not Just a Phase You’re Going Through….”

Dancer Fiona Kuipers of The Stone Dance Collective. Photo © 2010 by Zebra Visual
Dancer Fiona Kuipers of The Stone Dance Collective. Photo © 2010 by Zebra Visual

A guest post from a funded artist, presenting in Bellevue during the month of February:

There is a great opening quote for a dance film called, “Never Stand Still:  Dancing at Jacob’s Pillow” in which choreographer Mark Morris says (about being a dancer,) “It’s not just a phase you’re going through, it’s your life’s work.”

I’m Eva Stone, producer/curator for Chop Shop:  Bodies of Work, an annual contemporary dance festival held in Bellevue every February (the 16th and 17th of 2013.) This unique event includes an extensive free community outreach program as well as master classes, lectures and performances by leading dance makers from our region and beyond.  This event, now in its sixth year, is funded by support from 4Culture and the wonderful people in its organization.

I love this quote by Mr. Morris, as I spend 10 hours a day working toward this contemporary dance art form, something I deeply love, but I am quite sure many of my family and friends thought just that…that dance was just a phase I was going through.  I started training to be a dancer very late, at the decrepit age of 18 (though I had been making dances for four years prior.) Now, many years later, I am as enthusiastic as I was then, knowing that this new and ever evolving art form is still an enigma to many.  My credo is that everyone loves contemporary dance, most just don’t know it yet.

Chop Shop was created to bring new audiences to dance by way of peeling back the layers of the creative process and demystifying exactly how contemporary dance is made and looked at.  I host free “Reading Dance” lecture/demonstrations in which I present an excerpt from a work that will be seen in Chop Shop and then break down exactly how the dance is made and what the abstract movement language could mean.  For the festival, I curate work that is well crafted, has a strength and clarity of performance and is accessible to both new and seasoned audience members.  I aim to keep dance alive, relevant and connected to our dynamic and ever evolving culture.   Over the past six years, Chop Shop and 4Culture have supported 33 dance companies, 64 dance works and 184 dancers.  Far from just a phase, wouldn’t you say?

More info and a gorgeous promo at Shop:  Bodies of Work, A Contemporary Dance Festival.  Feb 16th and 17th, 2013 at the Theatre at Meydenbauer.)