Helen Hansen French on BEACON

This year’s Creative Pinellas Professional Artist Laureate, Helen Hansen French, is the first performing artist to serve in that position – and she has a year of exciting collaborations planned with Creative Pinellas.

This Friday is the long-awaited BEACON Dance Concert, after last year’s performance was cancelled while in rehearsals, due to the pandemic.

This year’s performance was safely filmed and for the first time, BEACON is available online. Tickets need to be purchased by 8 pm on Friday, but the performance can be watched anytime before this Sunday night at 8.
. . .

April 16. . 
Palladium Theatre. . 

Details here. . 

When I moved back to St. Petersburg in 2014 I was inspired and excited by the growing arts and culture scene.  The visual arts scene was exploding and the performing arts community was beginning    to blossom. The city looked nothing like it had when I was a child in the ‘80s-’90s. 

One of the first things I did was try to find ways for my creative voice to participate in this exciting new growth.

In November of 2015 I connected with Lauren Slone while we were both adjudicating for a University of South Florida student dance concert. We knew we had to make something together. Within a few days, the seeds for a deep friendship, a huge vision – and a performance series and support platform were planted. BEACON: a performance series for St. Petersburg was born.

In 2018 Sharon McCaman joined the BEACON team as our digital media strategist. This year BEACON has focused on giving a virtual voice to dance, and we are incredibly grateful to Sharon for her expertise as we pivot to the live stream platform. 

Artists are resilient creative problem solvers and this year’s BEACON is a testament to that!

Highlights from BEACON 2021
Highlights . . .

Dwayne Schuenemen and Sea Lea in Cogs in the Machine – photo by Tom Kramer

Since its inception BEACON’s producing partner has been the Palladium Theater. We have been honored to work with the Palladium’s staff and crew to develop annual opportunities for professional dancers and multidisciplinary artists to create and share the highest-quality work with the local community.

BEACON follows our impulse to begin with our community – focusing on local artists who think of St. Petersburg as home in a variety of ways. We share the stage, the studio – and the “Sunshine City” – with other inspiring, professional artists.

Last year due to COVID and the Spring lockdown we had to cancel BEACON. Like many performing artists and arts organizations we began looking for a way to safely make and share our work. What options were available to BEACON? We are thrilled that the Palladium has pivoted to a live stream platform that allows dance to be experienced during this uncertain time.

I hope you will join us and engage with the powerful art form of dance! If you want to learn more about BEACON please visit, beaconstpete.com.


. . .
This performance is part of the new Palladium LIVE! streaming series.
You can stream the show on your computer or any internet-capable device.
If you miss the livestream on Friday at 8 pm, the link will still be active for 48 hours following the show.
Find the details at the bottom of this page.


BEACON 2021 Program

Helen French in Immure – photo by Tom Kramer

Choreographer: Helen French
Dancer: Helen French
Rehearsal Assistant: Kellie Harmon
Music: Hildegard von Bingen performed by Maya Beiser
Lighting Designer: Christopher Spatafora

Immure is inspired in part by the life of Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th Century nun, healer, theologian and composer. She was enclosed in a monastery as a child and had prophetic visions her whole life. She was formally canonized Saint Hildegard in 2012.


Dwayne Schuenemen and Sea Lea in Cogs in the Machine – photo by Tom Kramer

Cogs in the Machine
Choreographer: Christina Acosta
Music: Atra Aeterna
Dancers: Dwayne Schuenemen and Sea Lea

Cogs in the Machine reveals an apocalyptic realm where even after life on Earth has ended, machine parts continue to move and flourish.

The choreography challenges dancers to jolt, twist, hook and magnetically partner in machine-like ways, into calibration.


Charlotte Johnson’s Journey to Freedom

Excerpt from Journey to Freedom

Choreographer: Charlotte Johnson
Dancer: Charlotte Johnson
Spoken Word Performers: Deven Filer and Stefanie Maisonet
Drummer: Luis Alicea 

This excerpt from Journey to Freedom sheds light on the real issue of domestic violence within our communities. From start to finish it displays the history of mental illnesses that our military veterans suffer from and how that illness can bleed over to those we love the most.

Although this excerpt doesn’t showcase how these individuals come to a place of peace, the scenes will hit home for so many and hopefully will leave you in suspense and ready to see more of what Journey to Freedom is all about.

* This piece contains mature subject matter. 


Erin Cardinal and Brian Fidalgo in Confluence – photo by Tom Kramer

Dancers: Erin Cardinal and Brian Fidalgo II
Text Written by: Nancy Stark Smith and David Koteen
Narrated by: Robin Gordon and Michael Foley

An improvisational performance conceived by Erin Cardinal and Brian Fidalgo II with artistic collaboration and direction by Robin Gordon and Michael Foley 

when the petals fall

Carissa Bishop, Nicholas Daulton-Crotty and Kirsten Standridge in when the petals fall

Choreographer: Alexander Jones
Dancers: Carissa Bishop, Nicholas Daulton-Crotty and Kirsten Standridge
Music: PYANOOK “Impromptu Reggae” and Philip Glass “Etude No.6: I. Etude No.6”
Costumer: Iky Standridge
Lighting Designer: Christopher Spatafora

It starts simple at first. Eye contact. A gentle nod. Body language. The conversation consists of gestures, all invitations to further the conversations. Then comes the pact. The agreement. Consent. A budding connection blooms into a ravishing relationship. Cycles spin chaotically in beautiful rhythmic patterns, culminating in unified release. The petals fall gentle in the glow of the sun.


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