Community Members Join Dancers in Public Performances March 18 and 19
Middlebury, VT—In reaction to dance competition reality shows that evaluate who is qualified to dance, Big Action Performance Ensemble (Big APE) presents Everyone Can Dance, a community-based performance project that celebrates the contagious allure of movement and the dynamic capabilities of the human body. The Middlebury project culminates a statewide tour and a four-week residency with Middlebury College students and local community participants. The final performances take place at 8:00 P.M. on Friday and Saturday, March 18 and 19, in Town Hall Theater on Merchants Row.
Everyone Can Dance is the inspiration of Tiffany Rhynard, Middlebury College Artist in Residence in Dance and Artistic Director of Big APE. Rhynard wants to ensure that the door to dance remains open, and does not exclude those who do not fit the typical “dancer body, technically virtuosic, sexually charged” stereotype that plagues much of mainstream dance culture. The project aims to energize dance communities in Vermont and inspire new audiences to engage with dance as a form of communication and expression, sparking dialogue about the power of dance in our culture.
collaborators include musician/composer Bronchtein, lighting designers John Forbes, Jeffrey Saltzburg, and Jennifer Ponder, videographer Nikhil Ramburn (Middlebury class of 2010), and Big APE dancers Misha Bailey, Sheriefs Gamble, Paula Higa, Winnie Looby, Hanna Satterlee, Ellen Smith Ahearn (Middlebury class of 2005), Marly Spieser-Schneider, and Lida Winfield. The sound score, arranged by DJ/composer Philippe Bronchtein (Middlebury class of 2010) utilizes an eclectic arrangement of electronic music and original compositions.
Hailed as “…curious and playful, thought provoking and bold” by Megan James of Seven Days, Big APE is an experimental dance theatre company based inMiddlebury. Created in 2008 by Rhynard, the company creates productions that incorporate vigorous dancing, interactive real-time media, digital video, and lively audience participation. The company’s mission statement forewarns audiences: “We are not interested in entertaining, pleasing or holding your hand; we want to take you somewhere, somewhere that will make you think, feel, react, move, sit up, stand up and take action.”
Tiffany Rhynard received her BA in Dance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and holds an MFA in Choreography from Ohio State University. She has taught at Peace College, North Carolina Governor’s School, The Ohio State University, State University of New York at Potsdam, and now at Middlebury College. As a performer, Rhynard has worked with various choreographers including Chavasse Dance and Performance Group, Brosseau Danceworks, X Factor, Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians, Gerri Houlihan, and John Gamble Dance Theater. Her choreography has been presented in venues worldwide and her video works screened at film/video festivals including the Dance for the Camera Film and Video Festival in Salt Lake City, and Dancing for the Camera at the American Dance Festival. Active in the collaborative process, Rhynard has worked with a variety of musicians, poets, visual artists, and animators.
Everyone Can Dance is sponsored by the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series, with support provided in part by the Vermont Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Vermont Community Foundation, The Doug Fund, Bristol Friends of the Arts, and Middlebury College’s Committee on the Arts and Dance Program. Tickets for the March 18 and 19 performances are $24, with discounts available for Middlebury College students, alumni, faculty, and staff. For tickets or information, contact the Middlebury College Box Office at http://go.middlebury.edu/tickets or 802-443-6433.
Photos Alan Kimara Dixon