We arrived on Island today in time to catch the last three days of one of our favorite summer happenings, Built on Stilts.
This multi night, homegrown dance festival can only be described as amazing. Each night begins with a improve drum circle while the dancers warm up. It is followed by two acts, each with five to seven different dance performances.
The performers range from little kids to senior citizens. They are short, tall, thin and heavy set. Their performances are hip hop and ballroom and modern and eclectic. The music choices are as broad as the performers themselves.
For free, just feet from us, we were able to watch these amazing dancers do what they love. We talked about dance style, music styles and the concept of performance art. The girls sat transfixed through traditional-type dances and were completely unfazed by the more conceptual pieces. They made connections with what they were seeing to other performances or shows or ideas they already had a handle on.
I love that we get to see the drumming- the random, yet intentional rhythms changing subtly over time. The mixed ages of the drummers and their varying styles of dress and instruments bringing together many different people.
I love that we can see the dancers warm up- not yet in costume, joining with other dancers, showing us the preparation and ‘work’ of performance, not just the finished product. The dancers join together in a circle and share the task of leading the warm up, one new move per person as the role moves around the room.
I love the variety of personality, dress, hairstyles, music and genre that we are exposed to. I love the questions and comments that arise and I love being part of an amazingly supportive and welcoming audience.
I wish I could share more photos, but the event is very specifically no-photos allowed. We’re asked to be present in the moment, and it couldn’t be a more awesome moment to be present in.