Starr Foster Dance Project Presents The Experimental Dance Piece ‘Levitate’
Levitate, a premiere presentation by the Starr Foster Dance Project, is a site-specific evening length dance work choreographed by renowned and award-winning RVA Artistic Director Starrene Foster.
Levitate expresses a captivating inquiry about spiritual and intangible connections and how our present relationships affect our ultimate journey.
The Starr Foster Dance Project is a modern dance company based in Richmond that tours nationally throughout the year. The dance company seeks to provide a positive experience for their audiences by creating emotionally stimulating works about human nature. The relationship between dancer and viewer is established through the relatable ideas of the work.
Foster’s past work exists in a multitude of different areas in the art world. As a modern dance company, The Starr Foster Dance Project is always up for experimentation and crossing art disciplines. “But this show is unlike what we are used to doing. It’s a new project and a huge risk. You just don’t know until it happens,” says Foster.
While expressing how much she wanted a unique, site-specific experience for the performance, Foster was fortunate to find out about the space through a friend. “The landlord essentially let us come and live in it for five weeks,” she says. Last weekend Foster went to visit the space with the dancers to begin preparations. The building, which is currently wide open and vacant, will be completely transformed for the duration of the four performances before returning to the original state of renovation.
A dance floor will be put in for the safety of the dancers, among other additions. Foster hopes that keeping the dancers on the same plane with the audience instead of a traditional stage will create a connection between performer and viewer. “There will only be thirty audience members per show,” says Foster, in order to heighten that connection. “We never do Q and A, but since it’s a small audience, maybe some will stay and some won’t,” she says, “I’m interested in a personal relationship with audience. I want to know what they saw.”
The show will also feature collaborations with artist Wade Angeli and composer Joey Luck.
Angeli is a student at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Communication Arts department of the School of the Arts. Foster knows him from a dance course at VCU. “Wade and I talked about the concept together—‘Levitate.’ He created the space with his beautiful renderings. The lighting will be sparse to allow the audience to see his work at times in the performance, but not all,” Foster says.
Luck is the Technical Director at the Firehouse Theatre and has done sound design and music for numerous productions. He has been working for the last few months to compose an original score for the performance. But his process was not a conventional one: Luck observed the movement of the dancers first, and then he created the music to match. “This is the first time we’ve worked together like this,” says Foster, “He has created a beautiful sound score for the show.”
The original inspiration for the title Levitate came from many sources. “The concept is inspired by what happens when we die, all religions, what we believe, what we control, how we put things in motion, karma, and how we treat everything around us,” says Foster, “There is no real story—only images and mesh of ideas.” The dancers will control the lighting during the performance. Lanterns will be incorporated into the choreography along with other floating elements to create an atmosphere that conveys the ideas of Levitate.
Foster is looking forward to bringing the space to life. Until recently, the dancers have only performed in the studio. “I’m excited to see the dancers embrace the space,” says Foster, “I want to show the city another way to dance. This can happen in so many realms. And here, we’ve created an environment—a unique reality.”
It will take place on the Saturdays of April 12, 19, 26, and May 3. Doors open at 7:30 PM, and shows begin at 8:00 PM. The events will each feature Q&A sessions with Starrene Foster and the company dancers at the end. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.
The show will be at 3300 West Broad Street—the old Sea Dream Leather Building, Across from Channel 6—an unconventional venue, as it is currently undergoing renovations.
“You won’t know what was in my head,” says Foster, “But I want the images to linger.”
I’m Lindsay Hawk. I am currently studying Sculpture + Extended Media at VCU, along with Biology and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. I enjoy making art about social issues, nudity, and sexuality. If I’m not in the studio, I’m probably exploring the outdoors, visiting art openings, talking to strangers, or chowing down on some local RVA cuisine. Find more of my work at www.lindsayhawk.com
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