Our Trail Forges New Paths for Dance

October 31, 2017 by SK WEST | PERFORMING ARTS
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The new Our Trail performance series isn’t just about encountering dance in an unusual and exceptional manner. It’s also about creating memories of dance in relation to space and breaking down traditional notions of the medium.

Featuring three distinct dance and three live original music pieces performed in three outdoor locations. Our Trail: Performances on the Pinellas Trail comes to us from the brains and bodies behind Our Town: A Moving Dance Tour of St. Pete.

The collaboration of the New Music Conflagration, Dance Linkages, and the St. Petersburg Dance Alliance (with funding support from the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance and a Stretch Grant from Creative Pinellas) creates new opportunities for people to encounter dance.  By opting for performances outdoors as opposed to an intimidating opera house, the performers involve the audience in the overall movement of the piece.  

The first performance, at the Florida Botanical Gardens, will begin in the Tropical Garden with a piece choreographed by Kellie Harmon, performed by Rogue Dance. From there the audience will walk along a path and enter into the Wedding Garden through the side gate. Helen Hansen French will perform her work with Mary Chase Doll and Samantha Miller, and three vocalists will be singing an original work by Alisha Erao.

After, the audience will be directed through the front gate of the garden into the open plaza to see Andee Scott’s work for seven dancers performed with the music and vocals of Mike Alexis, and keyboards by Ricky Seelbach. Following this performance, there will be an informal “Meet the Artists” reception at Creative Pinellas.

A few key concepts are at play. Earthly space (we are, unfortunately, not quite into the final frontier yet) has the capacity to hold memories and connections — it is alive and malleable, and Our Trail spotlights this kinesthetic potential of space to generate a new context for dance, one that is ephemeral yet enduring, site-specific yet universal. Plus, our brain’s mirror neurons compel us to move with the dancers.

The three Our Trail public art events work to demystify the assumed snobbery of dance: the medium exists outside of and beyond velvet cushions and burgundy curtains — it is grounded in humanity and uses the human body as its vehicle; it is something we can all find moving. 

The second installment will be in the green space directly behind the Dunedin Historical Museum, which is adjacent to the Pinellas Trail. This space is smaller, so there will be less walking but each of dance pieces will happen in a different area of the green space.

The final piece, featured during the December edition of the St. Petersburg Art Walk, is in the finishing stages, but will happen in the Warehouse Arts District.

Our Trail: Performances on the Pinellas Trail  premieres this Saturday, Nov. 4,  at 5:30 p.m. at the Florida Botanical Gardens; second performance is Saturday, Nov. 18, at 4 p.m. at the Dunedin Historical Museum; third and final performance of this project is Saturday, Dec. 9, at 5 p.m. along St. Petersburg’s Second Saturday Art Walk.

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*Creative Pinellas welcomes submissions from practicing artists for publication in our artists directory. To submit, please fill out the form here. Such publication does not constitute on endorsement by Creative Pinellas and does not imply a judgement about the quality of the work or the participating artist.