Dance Across Lawrence
Anti-war protesters and the honk-for-hemp guy are mainstays on Saturdays at 11th and Massachusetts streets. Next weekend, they'll have some particularly graceful company.
A group of performers will stage a "dance happening" at the corner as part of Dance across Lawrence, a communitywide celebration of dance that organizers hope will become an annual event.
"I think it's an exciting development for Lawrence and for dance," says retired Kansas University dance instructor Joan Stone, who's in charge of the happening and several other performances around the city. "It should make dance a little bit more visible, which will be good."
The daylong event is designed to expose people to different types of movement and promote the art of dance through free classes, workshops and mini-performances, culminating in a 7:30 p.m. show by Armitage Gone! Dance at the Lied Center (with discounted tickets for those who participate in the daytime events).
Karen Christilles, associate director of the Lied Center, says there are classes appropriate for first-time dancers all the way up to seasoned professionals. Offerings will include instruction in ballet, modern, jazz, ballroom, swing, hip-hop, flamenco and East Indian styles. There will even be a tai chi course in South Park.
Participants will get an introduction to terminology and movement vocabulary, as well as experience, in some cases, what it's like to be in a dance studio. Professionals from the Lawrence Arts Center, Kansas University and Lawrence Parks and Rec will teach the courses.
"The quality of dancers who live and make work and teach here every day is really remarkable," Christilles says. "They're choosing to be part of this community, but their work could easily exist in any major city."
Also being offered are a Dance and Film Making Workshop, an Environmental Choreography Workshop and a Create-A-Dance Workshop.
Christilles hopes lots of people will sample the offerings.
"People make a disconnect between dance as an art form and dance as a social activity," Christilles says. "We're trying to draw the two together."
Dance Across Lawrence is sponsored by the Lied Center, the city of Lawrence, the Lawrence Arts Center and KU's department of music and dance.