Thursday, July 20, 2006

Starr Foster Dance Project: Artist Insight

Starr Foster is the leader and creative force behind the Starr Foster Dance Project, a contemporary dance company based in Richmond, Virginia. She creates all the choreography for her company’s productions. Starr is also a parent, a spouse, a professor of dance at VCU and serves on the board of 1708 Gallery. I met with Starr over coffee the other day to ask about her upcoming projects.

This summer she and the 9 amazing women who make up the Starr Foster Dance Project are rehearsing for three performances at the Grace Street Theater that will premier October 5, 6 and 7th, 2006. There will be performances of two new dances, “Drowning” and “Clutch”, and a re-setting of the SFDP’s critically admired “Alice”. Based on the book Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, the 55 minute dance is the SFDP’s most well-known and popular work, comprising 12 dances and 16 dancers. Starr commissioned One Ring Zero to compose and record the music for “Alice” and the costumes were designed by Karl Green.

In 6 dreamlike vignettes, the dancers will explore metaphors relating to the overwhelming emotional burden of death. Marc Langelier of Rattlemouth will compose and perform the music on a Native American flute for the performances.

Starr choreographed “Clutch” to three compositions of the Brooklyn based string quartet Ethel. The performance starts as a duet and becomes a quartet of dancers. She described “Clutch” as being a “tense and disputatious but not quite violent” exposition of the way humans tend to hold onto things too hard and what happens when they do.

These new projects and the revival of “Alice” have led Starr to an awareness of the growth and maturity that her choreography and artistic vision have undergone in the past 6 months. I asked Starr if she would be dancing in the performances and she replied that she is stepping back from performing in her productions this year so that she concentrate on the process of creating the entire dance from the vantage point of a choreographer. She continues to dance every day (except for Saturdays) when she is teaching at VCU.

Of special interest to those involved with 1708, the Starr Foster Dance Project will be performing for Wearable Art:Über in 2007.

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