Star Foster’s ‘Stage to Page Dance Series’ told powerful stories with grace
Pumpkin spice lattes were not the only great beginning to the 2015 fall season, as October turned out to be a great start to the Fall for the Starr Foster Dance Project. The Project dancers, along with a few guest dancers, musicians, and film makers, put together a wonderful production at the Grace Street Theatre on October 1st-4th.
The show was titled The Page to Stage Dance Series, and consisted of brand new dances based off of short stories.
The Project sent out a call for sudden flash and fiction stories, and authors came to out in droves.
“We ended up getting about 60 stories within the four week period of time from all over the country and we only advertised through social media,” said Foster. “I gathered a group of readers to comb through the batch and we were able to get it down to 20, and then I went to rehearsal and the dancers [and I] had a discussion and we were able to get it down to seven. They were all really great, but we had to think about program order and what would inspire dance.”
Using text as inspiration for dance is not a new concept, however having an open call for stories to create new pieces is an innovative idea that worked in Foster’s favor.
“I’m often inspired by things I read, but I’ve never immersed myself in someone else’s idea… I don’t think anyone has done anything like it.” She said.
The artistic director and her company had been working hard since the Spring to put this show together. She spoke of how much work goes into choreography, and their hard work undoubtedly paid off.
Every time the lights went down, the dancers immediately grabbed your attention with their energy.
The opening of the show was a piece about a woman’s inner monologue during a place crash. Despite its harsh sounding description, the dancers held your gaze with their slow, controlled movements. Foster was able to re-create the cinema slow-motion effect within the choreography in a way that kept you intrigued.
Foster said she hoped the audience would be able to immerse themselves within the show and be able to relate it to their own lives. It was evident she wanted the real aspects of life to be showcased as the entire show revolved around some heavy topics.
One of the chosen stories detailed the experience of a transgender boy, and showcased his struggle with identity in a beautiful piece. The narrative took place on a dock built on stage, the lights set the scene, and solo company dancer moved across the installed set piece delicately.
Another piece that had the show-goers at the edge of their seats involved the re-enactment of a woman’s violent struggle with an assailant.
The attacker and the victim fought over a gun,when given a moment to think about a final decision, the woman’s battling thoughts are depicted through an ensemble of dancers. At the end of the dance, those watching were left with questions as to how the woman handled her attacker, but the performance was so powerful it proved hard to complain.
Foster wanted the audience to have a clear understanding of what provided the inspiration for each of the pieces, so she opted to ditch the traditional playbill.
“We’re also doing this really cool thing for the writers where we’re printing their stories,” She said. “… We are having books made with all the stories. So that way the audience can read the stories before they watch the dance.”
As an RVA native, Foster is a large advocate for the Richmond arts community. She is a strong believer that community engagement and involvement is essential to success of just about any project, and gives credit to the HatchFund Campaign as well as 58 other supporters for making this event possible.
RVAmag and GayRVA will keep posting updates for any new projects the SFDP has underway.
The dedication and talent of her company dancers was almost tangible, and anyone who has the opportunity to see them do what they do best should take advantage.
Star Foster Dance Project to bring original written words to life as part of ‘Page to Stage’ dance series
Struggling with transgender identify, assault, and a life-reflective airplane crash are just a few themes that will unfold.September 2, 2015
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