Included in SIX by SIX is Nature of Nurture, choreographed by Chambers and Hamff with support from the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham’s Grants to Individual Artists Award. In addition, Hamff has set a new work for four dancers, titled Lessons. Barry, dance professor at The University of Alabama, has set her work Mass Production on the company, and John McLaughlin has set a new work for eight dancers based on poems by Edgar Allan Poe. Speights has set a new work on four dancers, which will be previewed at the company’s signature event, PreMoves: Dances in Progress, on April 17, 2009.
Shellie Chambers, Interim Artistic Director of the company said, “It takes a lot of motivated and committed people to put together a dance concert. Many of our company members work full-time, several are mothers, a few attend graduate school full-time, and several travel from an hour away for rehearsals. We rehearse on the weekend, which does not leave time for much else! Each of us is passionate about presenting modern dance for Birmingham audiences.”
People often ask what modern dance is. Chambers says, “It is an expressive, American dance form. No shoes are required, and it has a strong relationship with the floor. If you ever peek in on a Sanspointe rehearsal, you will see a lot of collaboration between the choreographer and dancers and a lot of physical partnership with the floor and each other.”
Improvisation is an important aspect of modern dance. Improvisation is when the dancers generate the movement, structure and interplay based on their inspirations in the current moment. SIX by SIX will include an improvisation piece performed by Kim Guion and Rhea Speights, directed by Kim Guion. The dance will be different in each performance, and so will the music, which will be performed live by percussionists Daniel Long and Justin Wallace.
Guion said, “Instead of learning choreography to prepare for this dance, we practice different improvisational structures and make a new dance with each rehearsal. Musicians are also invited in to improvise with us. It requires a collective consciousness, which we are working to build.”
Sanspointe was founded by Michelle Hamff in 2003. Hamff said, “I wanted to present a modern dance concert, and that’s how it all started.” Today, the company exists to provide choreographers and dancers with an opportunity to create new work, collaborate artistically and present high-quality modern dance performances for the community. Sanspointe presents at least one concert of original and inventive choreography each year for audiences in its hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, and performs at events during the year around the Southeast.
Under the artistic direction of Shellie Chambers, Sanspointe has been recognized as a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt organization, with 18 company artists and seven members on its board of directors and is campaigning now for financial support. Sanspointe’s members bring a diversity of interests, experiences and talents to the company. This unique fusion of artistic ideas and inspirations allows Sanspointe to constantly evolve and challenges its members and the audience’s expectations of what modern dance is.
Several of Sanspointe’s artists are alumni of The Unviersity of Alabama’s dance department, two are currently seniors at UA and one is a professor. Sanspointe has also presented two concerts at UA. Chambers is excited to provide an opportunity for students in college to work with the company. “When I was a senior in college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation or what opportunities there were for me in the area. I’m glad that we can give these seniors this experience now before they graduate.”
SIX by SIX will be performed in an intimate theatre setting at Children’s Dance Foundation’s Community Arts Center Studio Theatre in Downtown Homewood (1715 27th Court South) May 28-31. Tickets, $10, can be purchased online and at the door. Seating is limited. To make a tax-deductible donation to Sanspointe, visit http://www.sanspointe.org/.