Beacon 2023

The Art of the Dance

April 28 at 8 pm
Details here

with Jeremy Carter
April 27 at 7:30 pm
Details here 

Palladium Theater, St. Pete

Each Spring since 2015, a cast of Tampa Bay’s premier dancers takes the stage at the Palladium’s Hough Hall, led by Beacon co-founders Helen French and Lauren Slone. The name is apt because this event literally shines a ‘beacon’ of light – of excellence – on dance in the Tampa Bay area.

Dedicated to contemporary dance, this year’s program offers a slate of innovative new performances – and for the first time, offers two nights of programming that sees Alexander Jones’ company, projectALCHEMY, open the event with Jazz Theory with saxophonist Jeremy Carter on Thursday night at the Palladium’s fabled Side Door Jazz venue downstairs.

The cabaret setting at Side Door creates an intimate space with close-up views of the action onstage – and action there will be.

Perky, Quirky, Smirky, choreographed by Christina Acosta in last year’s Beacon festival, featuring Baker, Zoë Gallon, Julianna Mazza and Dwayne Scheuneman of REVolutions Dance – photo by Tom Kramer

We spoke with Helen, Lauren and Alexander recently about this year’s highly anticipated Beacon event. We’ll start with what’s in store over Thursday and Friday, April 27 and 28 – followed by some personal insights from all three of these consummate pros at the peak of their game.

“Get ready to move,” says Alexander Jones. “This will be and immersive and interactive experience in a lounge setting.”

Caleb Parker and Deion Walker onstage in Beacon 2022 – photo by Tom Kramer

On Thursday, April 27 at 7:30 pm Artistic Director and Founder of projectALCHEMY, Alexander Jones, partners with jazz saxophonist, the inimitable Jeremy Carter for an evening of music and dance.

Jazz Theory is an immersive experience that explores jazz music and dance as ritual – conjuring up sensations of the past and creating new memories to be unlocked for the future.”

Jones says, “Just show up, and come to move!”

Erin Cardinal and Brian Fidalgo in Beacon 2022 – photo by Tom Kramer

Friday, April 28 at 8 pm is BEACON23. “What I love is the diversity of programming Beacon is offering this year,” French explains. The evening includes –

  • Sarah Emery’s film project The Dinner Table, an official selection for five global screenings.

  • 2023 MUSE award-winner Alexander Jones and projectALCHEMY’s new ensemble work set to Bach – a juxtaposition to the Jazz platform of Thursday’s Side Door event.

  • Helen Hansen French and John O’Leary III (of La Lucha fame) share their second collaboration, an evocative new duet that explores memory.

  • The St. Pete debut of Sarah Walston and Atlas Modern Ballet’s “Maelstrom”, an excerpt from their evening length work Ghost in the Black Jacket.

  • And a unique recreation of Heidi Brewer’s site-specific work developed for The Palladium Theater

    Ellipses, Heidi Brewer’s 2019 site-specific work performed outside The Studio@620

You can read highlights from our conversation
and listen to the whole audio recording

Q:  For those who aren’t Familiar, what is Beacon?

Lauren Slone: Beacon is an evening of performance and partnership that celebrates the many different professional artists here in Tampa Bay.

But, more than that, Helen and I have the intent to have that work hand in hand with the longevity of the performance series. We want to create an infrastructure with a multi-faceted approach that creates performance opportunities for everyone in our community long term.

Alexander Jones, Carissa Bishop, Heidi Brewer, Fernando Chonqui, Esophia Higgins-Wilkins, Kirsten Standridge and Evan Smith in Beacon 2022 – photo by Tom Kramer

Q: Would each of you share some words or a fondest memory of Tom Kramer? (The late Tom Kramer was a professional photographic artist, specializing in dance photography. He photographed each Beacon event prior to this year.)

Helen French and John O’Leary III collaborated with choreographer Paula Kramer, photographer Tom Kramer and visual artists Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse for Beacon 2022 – photo by Tom Kramer

Helen French: There are so many beautiful memories that include Tom – he is family. He was there for my wedding and has meant so much in our lives.

Tom Kramer photographed Helen French dancing in her wedding dress

The memory that comes to mind is something that doesn’t involve dance. We were driving together and he was giving me advice about plumbing. I can still hear him saying, “now listen, this is what you should do.” That’s when you know someone is truly intermeshed in every area of your life – colleague, friend – family member.

Helen French – photo by Tom Kramer

Lauren Slone: “I’m a dancer, but not in what you might consider the typical persona of one. I am not known as being a technician in the ways Helen and Alexander are. I’m heavily tattooed – there’s a lot.

Lauren Slone – photo by Tom Kramer

But on one particular photo session with Tom, I remember I actually got to feel beautiful – and I had a record of him seeing me that way. It’s how I feel and see myself when I’m dancing.

Alexander Jones – photo by Tom Kramer

Alexander Jones: Tom is the reason I met Helen. Tom and I worked together at HCC and he told me about Beacon….

No one captures movement the way he can and that will live forever in his work. He left his mark on St. Pete and on me – and because of it, I am forever changed.”

Helen Hansen French and Alex Jones many Beacons ago – photo by Tom Kramer


This Thursday and Friday will be filled with beauty, music and dance. What better way to spend your time than that?


The Palladium Theater and Beacon Present
projectALCHEMY’s Jazz Theory
with Jeremy Carter
April 27 at 7:30 pm
Palladium Side Door
Ticket information here

April 28 at 8 pm
Palladium Hough Hall
Ticket information here

253 5th Ave. N.
St. Petersburg FL 33701

Student rush tickets will be available
for $10 one hour before curtain – cash only

Helen French in Beacon’s debut in 2015 – photo by Tom Kramer

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