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Monday, March 24, 2014

The Bay Area Gets Footloose with Dance Anywhere

Posted By on Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Antoine Hunter performing an arial feat. - WEIDONG YANG
  • Weidong Yang
  • Antoine Hunter performing an arial feat.

One night after a San Francisco dance performance, artist Beth Fein considered just how much money went into productions, even on the smallest scale. She thought of the cost of the theater, the lighting, the costumes and everything. Fein saw opportunity for a new type of performance where the art of dance could be experienced without the manufacturing of sets and costumes.

"I kinda of whimsically said, 'What if we all just stopped and danced,'" Fein says. "And from there it grew." And grow it did.

Dance Anywhere, a public art performance, is in its tenth year and has spread across 50 countries and more than 432 cities. Friday, March 28, Fein, along with dancers, artists and performers of all types and abilities join at noon to take a break from society -- and dance.

It is a public performance that mixes improvisation with choreographed performances to mostly an unsuspecting audience in an intimate and unique experience.

"To be a dancer, you are constantly training and rehearsing," Fein says. "What happens during class and dance rehearsals is sometimes very beautiful dance, so [Dance Anywhere] is to recognize dance as a performance even if it isn't a 'performance.' "

The first Dance Anywhere took place as a cornerstone event for Bay Area Dance Week. Fein organized a group of dancers to perform a moving dance down College Avenue from Berkeley to Oakland. Fein recalls the finale at College and Claremont Avenues and says how fabulous it was.

"It's really invigorating in a lot of ways, it's a different experience than dancing in a theater," Fein says.

Antoine Hunter, urban jazz dancer, will dance this year at FUSEbox in Oakland.

"[Dance Anywhere] is the public freedom to express oneself; without it life wouldn't grow," Hunter says. "Dance Anywhere is like Thanksgiving: to come together to give thanks in the name of dance."

Axis Dance Company has been performing Dance Anywhere events since 2005. Sonsheree Giles says this year they will be performing in Downtown Oakland at City Hall.

"Dance Anywhere happens all around the world so this is a fantastic way to connect internationally," Giles says. "This year Dance Anywhere happens to correspond right before our home season, so it will be an excellent time to share information and invite people to our upcoming performance."

But Dance Anywhere isn't just for the professionals. In it's 10th year it has grown beyond that. Fein invites everyone to perform. Whether you are a dancer, painter, musician, at work in a cubicle, behind the counter at a café, she wants you to dance.

"My dream is that the whole world stops and dances for a moment together. Could you imagine?" Fein says.

Fein will perform at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco Friday, March 28 at noon. For a full list of performers and locations visit If you're interested to see what you should expect come Friday, check out the video bellow.

Or, if you yourself have got a case of happy feet, get up and dance.

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF, Adrian at @adrianrrodri, and like us on Facebook

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Adrian Rodriguez

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