June 24th-26th, the Dance Complex presented The Festival of Us, You, We & Them–a dynamic weekend of workshops, performances and free classes that celebrated movement and art-making in greater Boston. The Dance Complex took to the streets of Central Square, where crowds were drawn to the joyful energy coming from both the outdoor dance tent and the beautiful, newly-opened street-level Studio 7.
Kara Fili, Engagement & Education Manager of the Dance Complex, explained that the initial goal of the festival was to broaden the community’s experience of the arts by creating an event that was both physically and financially accessible.
The enthusiasm of the Dance Complex community throughout the festival encouraged new students to engage with art in a refreshing way. In Carl Alleyne’s New England Lock Shop class, students (as young as 7 years old!) were introduced to basic hip hop vocabulary, while outside on Mass Ave, vivacious tap dancer Valery Marcantonio guided a community audience through rhythmic exercises. Later in the day, belly dancers took the stage while True Story Theater entertained festival participants with spontaneous, improvisational performances in the lobby, and Brayton Dance navigated the main stairwell as a vehicle for movement. Nearly every nook and cranny of the DC facility offered something different to see and enjoy!
In an effort to promote the wide range of classes at the DC, the festival offered free class passes to new students. Many faculty members agreed that the option gave students the opportunity to explore new dance styles, which, in turn, brought a greater turnout and new energy to their weekly classes.
Check out what DC faculty had to say:
“I loved the diversity of the group – men, women, of different ages, backgrounds and dance abilities. But everyone was able to learn, and participated 100%. It also felt great to have the room so full of students. I can imagine it would be awesome to have that many on a regular basis!”
“A great way to give dancers an opportunity to try something new without the burden of spending their last $13 to do so…I believe that access is important and I’d be happy to do it again.”
“Having more people always amps up the energy and it was really fun to have a full house!”
Looking forward to the DC’s next festival, Summer Sizzle, Fili said, “My hope is that the sense of community, the openness to trying new things, and the support of new forms and people is carried through to any event we have at the Dance Complex”.
The weekend was a true illustration of the warmth and inclusivity of the Dance Complex community. Thank you to all who made The Festival of Us, You, We & Them such a success!
Until next time,