ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 9 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 28, 2005


      ArtBits always features a calendar of the goings on of Franklin County artists. Check out these events around Franklin County. Each issue includes the entire text of our weekly newspaper column.

      Stop in for live music and more at the Fairfax Music Sessions at the Foothills Bakery in Fairfax most Saturday afternoons at 1 p.m., at ChowBella or at the Overtime Saloon in St Albans 8-10 p.m. most Wednesday evenings, at the Bayside in St Albans Town most Sunday afternoons, and the Cambridge CoffeeHouses at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month.
     These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. The booked performances and acoustic Open Mike Nights feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.


      April 22-May 1 is National Dance Week.
      A Coalition for National Dance Week began in 1981 as a grass roots movement of dance organizations across the United States to bring greater recognition to dance as an art form. A volunteer work force of teachers, performers, students, community leaders, choreographers, journalists, businessmen and women and dance enthusiasts makes up the NDW delegates. Thousands of events this week-long include the national Kickoffs in major cities and local showcases at small town malls. This year they range from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to American Ballet Theater in Los Angeles to the American Dance Awards in Springfield, Mass, on April 30.
      Cheryl Ann Kelly directs the Electric Youth Dance Company in St. Albans.
      This week "we have had open house Monday through Thursday at our studio," she said. "The studio is open from 4-7. People can come in to observe a class or even participate in one. We are giving out National Dance week stickers, decals, and bumper stickers, and EYDC water bottles."
      Next Tuesday night, May 3, the BFA-St. Albans dance department will host an Evening of Student Choreography in the BFA Auditorium.
      "The students will display their mastery of the elements and processes of choreography, the elements being time, space, and energy," said instructor Judith Karstens. "The students have a list of state criteria to surpass."
      The event is both a culmination of their unit in dance instruction and a public performance. It is a student evening of works they have developed. They pick the music. We try to steer them away from pop music because it is a chance to explore other genres.
      "They usually work in smaller groups," Ms. Karstens said, "because it allows for a lot of choreographic elements."
      Ms. Kelly founded the Electric Youth Dance Company in St. Albans 15 years ago to teach ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and lyrical dance. The studio prepares dancers for competition as well as to perform in Kids Day, the Market Fest, Church Street Lighting Ceremonies, First Night-Burlington, Disney Magic Music Days in Orlando, and each year at the Vermont Maple Festival. She is also the co-founder and director of the first high school dance competition in Vermont and is the director and instructor for the Voltage and Sparkette dancers.
      The EYDC will be in Springfield for the American Dance Awards tomorrow evening.
      National Dance Week is more than a series of studio and theater and school events. It is a celebration one can hold alone or with family and friends. Have a dance party. Practice dancing to a favorite record or CD. Take dance lessons. Join a dance club. Interpret a story into dance moves as St. Albans did during the Liz Lehrman project. Attend a dance recital for inspiration.
      And the reason to dance? It's fun. It's healthy. It's dancing.


      "Save the Date!" Liz Gamache said of May 12.
      This column has investigated the effect of the Creative Economy on Vermont and its general application to Franklin County. Now it is time to consider how the Creative Economy will improve actual local businesses.
      Project L.E.A.D. will host a Community Forum on May 12 in St. Albans City Hall. Paul Costello, Executive Director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development, will moderate a forum to help us think outside the box.
      The Forum will take a different approach to problem solving. In other VCRD events, the experts took the stage and collected commentary from the audience. In St. Albans, experts and area residents alike will share the audience as business owners, teachers, and other community decision makers take the stage and collect the commentary.
      Project L.E.A.D. has also developed a survey as part of its community needs assessment of art venues and events. They need hundreds of responses to determine what is needed in Franklin and Grand Isle counties. Click here and click on the L.E.A.D. arts icon.
      The forum is supported by the All Arts Council, Franklin County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Franklin-Grand Isle L.E.A.D., St. Albans for the Future, and the St. Albans Messenger.
      I will discuss the Creative Economy with Mike Curtis and Liz Gamache of Project L.E.A.D., Karen Bresnahan of St. Albans for the Future, and Alisha Sawyer of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce tonight on Neighbor to Neighbor. Adelphia Channel 15 airs Neighbor to Neighbor Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. The program repeats on Friday at 2:30 p.m. and the following Thursday, May 5, at 2 a.m.


      The Brighton Fringe has invited Festival Firefly Productions to perform Fish Dancing in Brighton, England, in May.
      Firefly will produce two benefit performances of Fish Dancing to raise funds for the cast and crew's travels to the UK. The first performance, Friday, May 6 at 7 p.m. will be held at the Community Boat House in Burlington. The second benefit will be held Saturday, May 7, at 7 p.m. at the Rusty Nail in Stowe. Both events will include light fare and a cash bar.
      Admission is $30 per person or $55 for a couple. Advance sale tickets are available through Friday. The Firefly goal is to pre-sell as many tickets as possible. Tickets will also be available at the door for both events. Call Aimee S. Dodge at 644-8216(h) or 652-1550 (w), e-mail, or click here for more info.


      DanceNet On The Web is a weekly newsletter listing "dance things" in Vermont (and elsewhere)


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site.


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      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2005 by Richard B. Harper. All rights reserved. Archival material is provided as-is. Links are not necessarily maintained (if a link in this article fails, try or your favorite search engine).
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