For all the use dancers make of the phrase “dance community,” we seem quite unaware of just what that community is. As dance creators and performers, we assume that we belong to it; and because we call it a community, we take for granted that it is cohesive and supportive. Yet at any given moment, so many of us are struggling not just to do and share what we love, but also merely to make ends meet, that I have to wonder if the dance community exists in name only.
Cecly Placenti, dancer, choreographer, and founder of the contemporary company Six Degrees Dance, hopes to see this concept of collectivity turn into a more tangible, functional reality in the near future. “So much lack is focused on,” she says, “that we forget our greatest resource.” That resource? Our fellow dancers.
The notion that fostering strong relationships with our peers promotes both individual and collective success and survival was the impetus for Placenti’s latest collaborative performance project, Six Degrees of Separation. The production brings together the work of six choreographers–Placenti, Kristen Klein, Rachel Russel, Christy Williams, Angela Conte, and Jessica Howard–all of whom can trace their connections to each other through fewer than six other dancers. With a theme of Placenti’s imagining–how we respond to injustice–in mind, she and her fellow choreographers set to work, sharing everything from rehearsal space to dancers.
Funds for the show came from a golf outing hosted annually by Michael Placenti, Cecly’s father and an accomplished artist in his own right (some of his paintings served as the basis for an evening-length piece Cecly choreographed last year). Placenti intends to make Six Degrees of Separation an annual event, too, with each themed show presenting works from a mix of new and veteran choreographers. She hopes that other dancers, choreographers and fledgling companies will follow her lead in bolstering the cooperative, encouraging network she believes we have the power to create.
As a first step in this direction, join me for Six Degrees of Separation this weekend at University Settlement on the Lower East Side (Speyer Hall, 184 Eldridge Street). Curtain is at 8 pm on both Friday, 6/29 and Saturday, 6/30, and tickets can be purchased online or at the door. Whether or not you can attend, keep your eyes peeled for my review of the show next week.
For more information on the show and directions to the venue, click here.
For more information on the show’s artists, check out these sites:
Six Degrees Dance (Cecly’s company)
XT Danscollective (Christy Williams’ company)
Inclined Dance Project (Kristen Klein’s company)