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Fort Wayne Dance Collective Event: Choreographer’s Lab

Experience the premiere of 33 original dance pieces created and performed by local artists at Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s (FWDC) annual Choreographer’s Lab performances. Four public performances will be held- April 29th (2:30pm & 7:30pm) and April 30th (2:30pm & 6:00pm) at FWDC’s Elliot Studio located at 437 East Berry Street Suite 203, Fort Wayne, IN. All tickets are $15 and are available for purchase at www.fwdc.org.

For over 35 years, Fort Wayne Dance Collective has supported the development of local artists by hosting the Choreographer’s Lab, a workshop style intensive that gives professional, creative, and technical support to emerging and established choreographers alike. FWDC’s Artistic Director, Mandie Kolkman, and Program Director, Ashley Benninghoff, guide participating artists through the creation process. Artists are provided with tools to aid them in the choreographic process including rehearsal space, dancers to work with, and the opportunity to work with professional lighting designer, Diane Gaby.

The Choreographer’s Lab is a unique program to FWDC. The organization’s staff invests in their artists by giving them the tools they need to bring their artistic voice to the stage. By the end of the intensive, artists can confidently reciprocate steps and processes to create a piece and put on a meaningful performance. “This unique program provides opportunities for artists that would otherwise not exist. Through the Lab, FWDC encourages artists to hone in on their artistry and expression while telling personal stories through creative movement.” Mandie Kolkman, FWDC Artistic Director.

Over 30 local choreographers are participating in this year’s Choreographer’s Lab, the most this program has ever seen. FWDC is excited to welcome multiple participants from its Dance for Education program, which provides movement and rhythm programming in public schools. “I’ve always enjoyed dancing and creating my own pieces, but I haven’t always had the opportunity to showcase it. The Choreographer’s Lab has provided me with the opportunity to embrace my creativity independently, and I feel more confident as a dancer after receiving this experience.” Aliyah Holbrook, 12th Grade Student at Wayne High School.

The organization will also feature Easterseals Arc and Easterseals RISE, two outreach sites that participate in FWDC’s Dance for Diverse Abilities program, which provides accessible classes and performance opportunities to individuals with disabilities. “Both [Easterseals] groups are composed of people with disabilities who have not had many opportunities to explore or co-create interdisciplinary performance art. This performance project started last April, and although a culminating performance was one of our project goals, we did not have a clear vision that we would be performing at FWDC’s Choreographer’s Lab. We were excited to recognize that the Lab created a win-win opportunity. During the project year, we met every other week exploring basic skills related to interdisciplinary performance art, including dance, improvisation, body percussion, theatre, and music. Throughout the project, we worked with participants to co-create performance material using their ideas.” Allison Ballard, FWDC Outreach Teaching Artist.

The FWDC Choreographer’s Lab performances are made possible by the Indiana Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, as well as additional contributions from Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, Arts Campus Fort Wayne, Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, Cable Fund Access Board, Edward M. Wilson Foundation, English, Bonter, Mitchell Foundation, Foellinger Foundation, and Flagstar Foundation.

Fort Wayne Dance Collective is a non-profit arts organization located in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. FWDC’s mission is to inspire and empower people of all identities, abilities, and stages of life through movement arts.

In the 2022 fiscal year, FWDC served 36,727 people throughout Northeast Indiana and has provided scholarships, community programming, classes, and performances for the past 44 years.

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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