Sanpointe Turns 10! Press Release


Photo by Clark Scott featuring Margaret Armstrong, Anna Foshee and Stella Nystrom in Speights’ “SHINE”

Apr 15, 2013

Birmingham, Ala.  – Birmingham’s professional dance company Sanspointe is celebrating ten years of creating, collaborating, and connecting through modern dance with Sanspointe Turns 10!, a gallery of performances at the CDF Studio Theatre Friday, May 17 through Sunday, May 19.   Sanspointe Turns 10! features dances from our repertory as well as new works from Taryn Brown, Rachael Inman, Artistic Director Rhea Speights, and a work from Shellie Chambers with guest student dancers from Children’s Dance Foundation.

The audience at Sanspointe Turns 10! will be able to move through and around the dances, as if they are in a gallery space more than a proscenium theatre.  Chairs will be provided, but the space will be constructed with no established “front.”  The audience will be invited to look at the dances from various points of view and change their relationship to the performers throughout the concert. 

Speights said, “The company’s presentations of dance outside of the theatre have given the audience an opportunity to see the work up close and with a personal perspective that we are encouraging in the theatre as well.  The theatre lends itself to an atmosphere of fantasy that we are attempting to dismantle.  I hope that this close exchange with the work, seeing the dancers sweat and hearing them breathe, gives the audience a keener sense of their own physical being.”

“I was considering ways of taking the company back into the theatre while maintaining the excitement we produce with work we take into the community.  Rachael Inman proposed making a dance installation, working with the dancers as individual movement sculptures, and suddenly it became clear that the agency of the audience to see the work on their terms was what we found exciting in the site work,” Speights added.

Sanspointe Turns 10! is a birthday celebration for the company.  Sanspointe was founded and directed by Michelle Knutson in 2003.  Shellie Chambers directed the company from 2008-2011.  Knutson and Chambers have each reconstructed a work made for the company from the period in which she was the director.  Chambers’ work was originally constructed for Railroad Park and includes participation from the audience.  Knutson will perform her solo “Traveling on Your Holy Ground,” which won best Modern Choreography at the Panoply Arts Festival chorography competition in 2006.  Speights’ “Shine,” revived from last year, will also be performed.

New works for Sanspointe Turns 10! look at relationships between the past, present and future from the different perspectives of each of the choreographers.  Taryn Brown’s choreography for “Diptych” is a duet exploring dynamic shifts and “a psychic unison with organic tendencies.” Chambers’ new work with students is a vibrant birthday celebration with new music by Justin Wallace.

Speights’s new choreography “Coursing” responds to thoughts about the Mississippi River, specifically maps made by Howard Fisk that show the variant pathways for the river over the past 2,000 years.  Without referencing the Mississippi outright, the dance follows a forward movement made by a series of reversals.  The development of this piece accentuates the idiosyncratic responses to the movement material from each of the dancers and allows the performers to respond to the dance in a very present way.

As part of the birthday celebration, the company is inviting the audience to a birthday party after the Saturday night performance on May 18 and offering a community class that same day, from 2pm-3:30pm in the theatre and taught by Speights.  The cost of the class is ten dollars.

Sanspointe Turns 10! is made possible with support from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Puffin Foundation and will be presented at the Children’s Dance Foundation’s Community Arts Center Studio Theatre in Downtown Homewood (1715 27th Court South) May 17-19.  Tickets can be purchased for ten dollars at the door or at  Seating is limited.  To make a tax-deductible donation to Sanspointe, visit


CONTACT: Rhea Speights, Artistic Director / 205-344-0598