At ART MOVES, FWDC Puts Masterpieces in Motion
Sep07

At ART MOVES, FWDC Puts Masterpieces in Motion

When it comes to annual fundraisers, the Fort Wayne Dance Collective is known for creating over-the-top experiences that guests anticipate all year long. In years past, that meant choose-your-own-adventure theatrical performances in various Fort Wayne landmarks. But this year, under the leadership of Creative Director John Byrne, the organization is trying something new. As in years past, tomorrow’s ART MOVES event will raise funds for FWDC’s community outreach programs, high school dance programs and dance scholarships. But this year, FWDC eschewed the theatrical theme to celebrate creative expression in all its forms. At 6 pm tomorrow night, September 8th, Wunderkammer Company will serve as the backdrop for various choreographed pop-up performances, each inspired by a different iconic fine art works. The ART MOVES event will also include a silent auction, heavy appetizers and a cash bar provided by Club Soda. Tickets are $25 in advance, available through the FWDC website, or $30 at the door. With the event approaching, I talked to John Byrne to learn more about his artistic vision and inspiration for ART MOVES. B: What sparked the idea ART MOVES? J: Fort Wayne is a city just exploding with art and dance, and FWDC is proud to be in the forefront of this cultural movement. We serve such a diverse range of communities, ages, abilities and interests through dance education, healing and performances – more than 43,000 people annually to be specific! The idea for ART MOVES was simply inspired by the desire to bring awareness to what we do, in a fun, laid-back, party environment. For the artistic concept, I wanted to show who we are at the core by deconstructing dance down to its most pure form – movement. Dancers from 10 years old to 60 years old will take over the space in elegant and simple costumes, with beautiful lighting and sets by artist Diane Gaby. The dancers will represent recognizable iconic art works by emulating the essence of the  art works through dance. The performance will be presented in a simply, allowing the movement and personalities of our diverse performers to shine through. B: What kind of art and artists inspired the choreography?  J: There are eight choreographers contributing original dance works to ART MOVES.  This includes Vicki Gallagher, Mandie Kolkman, Sydney Pacula, Corinne Hobbs, Liz Monnier, Ashley Benninghoff and Allison Brandgard. Choreographers chose iconic art work that inspired them and designed their dance works based on these pieces. At the event, you’ll see artists such as O’Keeffe, Magritte, Kandinsky, Van Gogh and Koons represented. Dancers from all branches of Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s programs will be performing the new dance works. Singer/songwriter Kelsie Murray will also be making a special appearance. What can guests expect at the event?  J: Partygoers can expect...

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Summer Nights at the Embassy
Jul13

Summer Nights at the Embassy

Want to spice up your summer nights? I’ve got just the recommendation. On the next free Wednesday you have, try Summer Nights at the Embassy. From the food and drinks, to the entertainment, to the spectacular views of downtown, it’s a great time. What does the event entail? Well, let me tell you about my experience. Summer Nights at the Embassy consists of local food, entertainment, and a cash bar, and takes place in the Embassy Theatre’s newly renovated ballroom, as well as on the Parkview rooftop patio each Wednesday until September 7th. Tickets are five dollars, and it is a casual “come and go as you wish” type of event. Doors open at 5PM and close at 9PM. On the night I attended, Tacos Bravas  served delicious food, and dAnce Kontemporary was the featured entertainment. Every fifteen minutes, a group of dancers performed beautifully engaging and captivating routines while people, sitting at round tables, casually chatted, sipped on their mixed drinks, and ate mini tortas. Overall, as mentioned above, the night was delightful. Continuing on, the cash bar is stocked with local beer and spirits from Three Rivers Distilling Company. So, the entire event is made up of local businesses and talent. The food rotates each week between Tacos Bravas, Club Soda, and Salud! Tapas & Tequila. The schedule for the event with the respective food and entertainment can be found on the Embassy Theatre’s website or Facebook page. If you’re looking for fun, different activities to do this summer, I definitely encourage you to visit the Embassy Theatre. The ballroom and rooftop are beautiful, the staff is kind and informative in regards to the building, and the food and drinks are satisfying. Plus, the local entertainment captivates audiences each week, with something for everyone’s taste. Come see the newly renovated Embassy ballroom, support local talent and businesses, and enjoy...

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The Kickstart Festival is Growing!
May09

The Kickstart Festival is Growing!

May is National Bike Month, and the Kickstart Festival marks that here in Fort Wayne. The Festival committee is made up of many organizations all working together to make May great! Through their hard work, the festival has grown by nearly a dozen events. Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation and Operation4F have added a Fairy Trails Family Bike Ride in Costume on Saturday, May 14. This event is family friendly and ties perfectly in to the Fort Wayne Youtheatre’s Fairy Tale Fest. Local bicycle enthusiast and Active Transportation Planner for the City of Fort Wayne, Kate Riordan will be leading the parade. Additional bike escorts will be provided by Bicycle Friendly Fort Wayne. Between performances from the Fort Wayne Ballet, Fort Wayne Youtheatre, and Fort Wayne Dance Collective, face painting, and an obstacle course, the Arts United campus and Freimann Square will be buzzing with bikes, kids, and fun! If competition is more your style, a duathlon is also new this year. Fort Wayne Outfitters and Bike Depot will host the TriState Triathlon’s Super Sprint. The bike course uses the greenway, as well as some grassy areas near the Depot. The run course is an out and back, using the east path on the greenway. Another addition to the line up is the Kickstart Community Block Party from noon to 4 pm. Kickstart Festival is joining the MS Walk and the Great American Clean Up to host for a party in the park! Headwaters Park East Pavilion will be full of music from Good Night Gracie and food catered by Club Soda. Our friends at TriState Triathlon will be providing bike valet service as well. This event is open to the public, so everyone is welcome to join the fun. These additions are sure to become old standbys in the years to come. The Ride of Silence, on Wednesday May 18th is one of those events that will continue to be an important part of the festival. A bit more somber, yes. But it stands as an important reminder that all road users – people who drive cars and people who ride bike are responsible for being aware of their surroundings and are responsible for operating in a safe manner. We hope this short recap has given you the push to pull your bike out of storage, put some air in those tires and Kickstart your summer! Learn more about other activities on the Kickstart...

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AXIS Performance Celebrates Dance for Every Body
Mar09

AXIS Performance Celebrates Dance for Every Body

As demonstrated by wedding receptions and Seinfeld reruns, dancing is a pretty democratic form of expression. When it’s time to hit the dance floor, it’s not about perfection. It’s about bringing your signature moves and shaking what you’ve got. But that freedom of expression doesn’t always carry over into the world of professional performance, where casting often comes down to physical characteristics rather than creative passion. Thankfully, modern dance organizations are breaking those barriers. In our community, the Fort Wayne Dance Collective (FWDC) offers dance and creative movement programs for people of all ages and abilities – from preschoolers to Parkinson’s patients. This weekend, FWDC is hosting a performance by Oakland-based AXIS Dance Company, a contemporary dance company that’s spent the last few decades pioneering a form of expression they call “physically integrated dance.” Instead of closing the door on creative expression, AXIS is about access. The company includes dancers with and without disabilities. Performances creatively integrate dancers’ varied abilities, turning wheelchairs into choreography elements and showcasing each individual’s unique physical form. By celebrating the different ways people can dance, AXIS embraces a technique that breaks from tradition. The company’s innovation has earned national and international awards and acclaim. “I’m excited to see how the dancers from AXIS use their unique physicality to do innovative movement and choreography,” says John Byrne, Creative Director at FWDC. “They’ve taken something that had long been a stigma in dance, disability, and proved that it can be an advantage in creativity. The physicality and extreme athleticism of the dancers is quite impressive!” AXIS will perform as Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s 2016 guest artist on Saturday, March 12th at 8:00pm at the Arts United Center. The performance will include three original dance pieces, including a new dance theater work by choreographer Joe Goode called “To Go Again”. As Goode explains, “To Go Again” honors the resilience of our country’s veterans in the face of difficult and catastrophic circumstances.   Prior to Saturday’s performance, Arts United will host a Creative Cocktails reception beginning at 5:30 pm at Club Soda. Following the show, AXIS dancers will interact with audience members in a relaxed Q&A session. FWDC’s weeklong guest artist activities also include a Creative Workshop with AXIS on Thursday, March 10th at Turnstone Center and a Master Class on Friday, March 11th at the Fort Wayne Dance Collective. “I hope that the community will feel empowered after the performance and workshop,” says Byrne. “I hope that they see that there is no excuse to not pursue their desires, despite what they may perceive as a roadblock! We want to send the message that Fort Wayne supports artists of all abilities.” Every year,...

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Triple Threat Performing Arts Academy
Feb12

Triple Threat Performing Arts Academy

To be a standout performer, you have to be a triple threat – a singer, dancer, and actor. If you’ve dreamt of making your stage debut, you can make it a reality at Triple Threat Performing Arts Academy. Located in Downtown Fort Wayne, Triple Threat is unlike any performance academy in the area. The brand new facility offers a wide array of dance classes and private acting and voice so students can become just that – a triple threat. Executive Director Andy Planck originally hatched the idea of an all-encompassing performing arts academy in 2005 after touring nationally as a musical theatre actor. He returned to his Fort Wayne roots in 2009, but it just didn’t feel like the right time to start a studio. So, he pursued performing opportunities at top theatres in Chicago for a few years. Planck started taking note of the news of Fort Wayne’s emerging cultural vibrancy and downtown revitalization, and he said; “Now it’s time.” He acquired the first floor of the Randall Lofts Apartments on Pearl Street and began working on the rehearsal spaces immediately. His long-standing connections to the arts scene in Fort Wayne, including the collaboration with the newly formed Three Rivers Music Theatre, helped him to acquire professional performing arts instructors to begin the company. If you are looking to perform, opportunities are abundant for singers, dancers, and actors. Try a musical theatre class! The Three Rivers Music Theatre, with Resident Music Director Tommy Saul, debuts their first production, The Last Five Years, April 1-10 at the Parkview Physicians Group Arts Lab. “We’re very excited about this premier, and we’re looking forward to future performances in collaboration with other local performing arts groups!” Perhaps you think you have two left feet and just want to have some fun at a dance class. Drop-ins are always a welcome addition to the Triple Threat community. Join in on ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and even heels! If you’re looking for a way to get your sweat on, there’s Zumba offered on Saturday mornings. Whether you’re a long-time lover of the spotlight or you’ve never set foot onstage, you too can become a triple threat! Triple Threat Performing Arts Academy offers classes on a semester basis for those age three to adult. Registration for this semester closes on February 21, but you can drop in on an adult dance class whenever you feel like busting a move. Check out triplethreatfw.com to see their full class roster and pricing.   Triple Threat Performing Arts Academy 212 Pearl Street Fort Wayne, IN...

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