By Emily Williams-Robertshaw
A new show by Sanspointe Contemporary Dance that tells the story of the evolution of a “sense of community” during the pandemic will debut Sept. 24-25 at the Children’s Fresh Air Farm in Bluff Park.
The modern dance “Here” was sparked by conversations organization officials were having in 2020 as they struggled to plan a new season amid many unknowns, said Sanspointe Artistic Director Anna Foshee.
“We were asking ourselves questions about how we lost (community), … how it felt to lose it and how we found it again,” she said.
Sanspointe was founded in 2003 and operates out of The Dance Foundation in Homewood, where many of its leadership team, including Foshee, teach other forms of dance.
Foshee, a Hoover resident, has been dancing with the company since 2009. She took over her current leadership role in 2016 with co-Artistic Director Sara Wallace.
The company provides contemporary dance opportunities to the community through performances, community classes, elementary and middle school student workshops and other programs.
“We’re creating new work for the community and it’s really important to us to make it accessible,” Foshee said. “We don’t want to push anyone away from modern dance.”
The company began prepping for the 2021 season in 2020 not knowing what the pandemic landscape would look like today.
“We were trying to decide if we could even have a show at the time, so we were thinking outside the norm,” she said. “Let’s make some dance outside. If we can do anything, we can do it outside.”
“Here” will be presented outdoors at the Children’s Fresh Air Farm, a space that has been a neighborhood haven for Foshee and her children during the pandemic.
“Hopefully we will have good weather, but it will be rain or shine because we can move it into the pavilion,” Foshee said. “We’re going to make it work.”
Company officials acclimated themselves to the outdoor performance style earlier this summer with its “Tiny Dances.” The event included a multimedia display at the Pizitz Food Hall downtown as well as an outdoor performance.
“Here” will feature four new works created by Foshee, Wallace and Rachel Inman.
In addition to the dancers, live music will be provided by Iron Giant Percussion, coordinated by Music Director Justin Wallace with vocals by Wilder Atkins.
The show will conclude with a community dance featuring volunteer dancers, or “community movers,” Foshee said. Members of the community were invited to sign up to participate in the finale regardless of their experience on the stage.
“We are calling them ‘movers,’ because it is anyone,” Foshee said. “We have some people who have never danced in their life and then some that have.”
The movers will begin rehearsals in the coming weeks on a piece created with their input.
“We’ll be asking them some questions about how they dealt with losing community and how they found community during 2020,” Foshee said.
“We’re hoping they will feel comfortable. It’s daunting, but once they get there, I think, on that first day they will realize that anyone can do what we’re doing.”
She hopes that the experience will prove to be a form of dance therapy for those participating as well as those watching the show.
“Anybody can move their body and it feels good to do that, but you can also tell a story,” Foshee said.
For more information and ticket purchase, visit sanspointe.org.