If Shakespeare is right, that all the world’s a stage — can’t it also be a dance floor? Claire Hancock and Ashley Bowman, founding artistic directors of the barrier-busting Artifact Dance Project, are about to find out.
This adventurous movement company is going to present its Saturday stage performance on a dance floor — specifically the floor of LoveSmack, a photo studio with high ceilings, wood floors and old brick walls in the warehouse district at 19 E. Toole Ave. That’s why the show is titled “wear.house.”
The event is taking place in a former warehouse, where the audience and 12 dancers will be all together as one group wearing imaginative fashions and dancing to house music that’s heavy on drums and bass.
“We don’t want costumes to become a barrier between us and the audience,” said Hancock, adding that they want to create a tribal, communal experience (for both the performers and the audience) by having the choreographed dancers look much like everyone else.
“We are encouraging everybody to get dressed up however they like,” said Bowman. “We’re hoping for some extreme fashion statements,” she said, imagining an updated level of outrageousness the equal of disco’s fabled Studio 54.
For their part, Hancock and Bowman with guest choreographers Todd Wilson, Megan Maltos and Shelly Steigerwald have prepared 10 distinct pieces using specific dance tracks that will be slipped into five hours of turntable creativity provided by DJ Sync.
These 10 pieces will be set on various combinations of dancers. Each dance also has been designed with flexibility so the performers have space to adjust their moves to flow with whatever the spirit of the evening might be at that particular moment.
The music will start at 9 p.m., with Artifact doing its first number about an hour later. After that, there will be a new dance every 30 minutes or so, while DJ Sync’s nonstop tracks and everyone else’s free-form dancing continues the fervor.
Spontaneity is the key word here. DJ Sync — aka Steve Seifert — wants his song selections to build excitement on the dance floor.
Then when the DJ feels it, he’ll put on an Artifact track. The dancers will immediately slip into their choreographed moves to push the dance floor excitement higher.
As the pulse of the evening naturally rises and falls, the artistry of Artifact’s “wear.house” will be shaped by the energy of all the dancers on the floor.
Essentially the order of the tracks will be determined by the emotion of the LoveSmack audience.
“We don’t have any idea what will happen,” beamed Hancock, excited by the prospect.
“Will people stop dancing and watch us? Will they join us, ignore us? We don’t know. This is definitely an experiment.”