A typical dance performance might feature performers on a stage in front of a seated audience.
Art Moves, the premier fundraiser for the Fort Wayne Dance Collective, is anything but typical.
It’s described as an immersive production.
“It has a really unique spin for a fundraiser because instead of having a performance where you’re in a theater, the dance happens around you unexpectedly,” Artistic Director Mandie Kolkman explained. “People are sometimes afraid of attending performances because they think something might be expected of the audience members. In this case, attendees can sit and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere while they mingle. Then compelling things are happening around them, not just in front of them.”
This is the sixth year for the fundraiser, but even those who’ve attended in the past are sure to see something new, as the organization marks its 40th anniversary.
“It’ll have a slightly different spin,” Kolkman said. “Last year we held it at the Philmore on Broadway and there was more of an art deco feel to it. This year we truly are in celebratory mode. It’s a nod to the past and a look to the future.”
Art Moves will be held at the Parkview Physicians Group ArtsLab at 300 E. Main St. downtown. Organizers says it’s the perfect space to highlight some of their favorite works from the past 40 years.
“We’ll show our history by revisiting stunning choreographic works from our past,” Kolkman said. “We’ve invited back our founding artistic director who was in that role for 35 years. And two former artistic staff members are also choreographing pieces. We’ll also feature work from one of our dancers who started here at a young age, was a member of our youth company, and is currently an FWDC teaching and performing artist.”
That founding artistic director, Liz Monnier, formed the group in the summer of 1978. She and four other women met at a modern dance workshop sponsored by the Fort Wayne Women’s Bureau. After the workshop, they decided to continue the momentum of creative expression by starting the non-profit dance organization.
Today, 40 years later, the Dance Collective offers a range of programming. Dance for Health includes the Parkview Healing Arts Program, which integrates literary, movement, music, and visual arts into patient care. Dance for Community is a collaboration with McMillen Park Community Center YMCA branches. It serves children, youth, and teens by providing year-round, after-school dance and drumming classes. Dance for Disabilities focuses on people with disabilities at Turnstone, Easter Seals Arc, Bi-County Services, Fort Wayne Community Schools, and East Allen County Schools. Dance for Education is a year-round curriculum that includes performances at nine different local schools. There is also an on-site school downtown that highlights movement and wellness and offers classes to the public six days a week.
Those programs are funded through donations and underwriting by Club Soda and First Federal Savings Bank. That’s why the fundraiser, Art Moves, is so important — and why organizers work so hard to make it a unique experience.
“We’ve worked hand-in-hand with Artlink to produce cutting edge, contemporary performance art,” Kolkman said. “Collaboration has always been a part of our history and we will continue working with other artists in the years to come.”
Fort Wayne Dance Collective has several artists who perform with them on a regular basis. The artists started planning Art Moves and coming up with the concept about a year before the September 6 event. They hone in on specific pieces roughly four months before the show.
“We’re excited about our 40th anniversary. Audience members can expect lots of glitter and balloons! We’re proud of our past and extremely excited about the future. We have a very competent and artistically inclined staff pushing us in the right direction,” Kolkman said enthusiastically.
“Not only are we growing, expanding and producing unique works of art, but the whole community is moving right along with us. From Arts United to the riverfront project to General Electric, the whole event and arts scene is booming.”
Art Moves takes place from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 6. Tickets are $35 and include heavy hors d’oeuvres and desserts along with a cash bar provided by Club Soda. There will also be a wine pull, photo booth, and art installation.
All proceeds go to support the mission of FWDC to empower and inspire people of all ages and abilities through movement and rhythm.