MOVE! St. Pete Dance Festival

In 2022, I received a Pinellas Partnership grant which stipulated partnering with a local arts organization in order to support creative research. One of the main areas of focus for my creative research is site-specific dance, and more specifically creating innovative programming and infrastructure to support dance performance as public art in the wider community.

A little history: In 2016, I created Our Town, a walking tour of site-specific dances created for and in seven iconic or historic locations in downtown St. Petersburg. I followed that with Our Trail, which was a series of dances performed at different locations along the Pinellas Trail. Our Trail was made possible through a stretch grant from Creative Pinellas as well as support from the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. 2020 brought us the pandemic and Dance in the Time of Coronavirus performance series. Building upon these stand-alone projects, I am looking to develop a sustainable platform for dance as public art that connects artists and audiences from communities both local and global.

MOVE! St. Pete is a dance festival that I produced, with Sadie Lehmker, and it is the first iteration of a developing platform for dance in public spaces. Eight original dance works were presented in and around the Plaza at the Mahaffey in St. Petersburg on April 8, 2023. Invited choreographers included Alexander Jones, Paula Nuñez, Elsa Valbuena, Mary Williford-Shade, Bliss Kohlmyer, Mary L. Durant, Katurah Robinson, Sadie Lehmker, and myself. During the course of the performances, the audience walked from dance to dance, seeing each work from a different vantage point. It was a beautiful day of dance on the lawn!

From this, I am hoping to create a residency program to support choreographers creating new work in public spaces so that artists have more time to research and develop their dances with support and audiences have more opportunities to experience dance performance. Building infrastructure and identifying funding are key to sustainability, and I hope to have a more formal structure moving forward that can support and implement more and more ideas about dance as public art.

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