On April 16, The Dancers’ Space, a South Florida dance collective formed in 2013, will present Create.Dance.Florida at the Duncan Theatre in Lake Worth. This group of contemporary dance pieces includes new works commissioned specifically for this performance with the goal of connecting local audiences and artists with the greater dance community. PBI.com caught up with co-director Donna Murray for the inside scoop on the vision behind this artistically enriching performance.
Photo by Karime Arabia Photography
PBI.com: When and why was The Dancers’ Space established?
Murray: The Dancers’ Space was founded in August 2013 in an effort to make visible and develop the art-based contemporary dance community of South Florida by creating platforms and programs for pre-professionals bridging to the professional world, professional dancers, dance educators, and choreographers.
Why is cultivating new works so important to the mission of The Dancers’ Space?
We believe supporting creative artists can and will raise the level of modern and contemporary dance here in Palm Beach County. By giving these artists the resources (such as space, dancers, and platforms for both informal and formal performances), we can develop an environment conducive to making art and continue to build community support. New work is what we primarily focus on because that is how we as artists move the art form forward. These new works can then live here—in Palm Beach County—and these artists can remain home in South Florida and still create and present quality work while feeling connected to the national landscape of contemporary dance.
What was your vision in putting together this spring collection of dance?
Twice a season, TDS and the Duncan Theatre present Create.Dance.Florida, a series of two full-scale productions in November and April showcasing modern and contemporary dance works created locally, regionally, and statewide. … The focus of this spring collection of work has been the creation of a new-works initiative by invited artists and friends of TDS in hopes of connecting our audiences and artists to the national and international dance landscape.
How did the company go about choosing the choreographers?
For this spring collection, we wanted to try something new. We imagined forming a small performance company and invited some friends of TDS to make new, original works for this project. These choreographers (Sung Yong Kim from Korea; Kyra Jean Green, formerly of Palm Beach County, now living in Montreal; and Michael Phillips of New York City) not only created new work for TDS but also gave back to the community by offering master classes, open rehearsals, and artist talks. This was a trial project and it turned out to be an exciting and wonderful experience for the dancers and for the dance community of Palm Beach County.
What can audiences expect when attending Create.Dance.Florida?
They will see a variety of works by a variety of artists—eight works, each with a specific voice. They will see four premieres in addition to two Palm Beach County premieres and two works created in 2015. From costuming to lighting design, from music choice to choreography, and finally to the movement and the dancers, each work provides a different and unique point of view. After the performance, there is a talk back facilitated by Mark Alexander, director of the Duncan Theatre, which is always a friendly, honest, and educational experience for both artists and audiences.
What do you hope audiences will take from this performance?
We hope our audience will be engaged, educated, and entertained, and perhaps come away feeling something new or with a new realization about life. This may seem like a very large goal, but I think modern dance exists to challenge, reflect, and propose something new. At this level, we would like the audience to notice the variety of artistic voices and the effort and talent of the performers. Most of all, we would like the audience to come away talking about the work—that it was thought-provoking, interesting, and well presented.