Magazine article Dance Magazine

Dance Week Draws Attention from White House to Bay Area

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Dance Week Draws Attention from White House to Bay Area

Article excerpt

For years National Dance Week has been underwritten by dancewear manufacturers with the aim of keeping sales of leotards and ballet slippers aloft. But recently Dance Week has leaped the commercial wall and become a grassroots community-building enterprise, working from region to region across the country to improve the visibility and reputation of dance as an art form and not merely as a source of Spandex.

"This is a watershed moment," explained national coordinator and National Dance Week business manager Patti Goulding from her thirty-year-old dance studio, Patti's Place ... The Dance Place in Pittsburgh. "The public's perception of the dance world is changing. It is beginning to take us seriously and perceive us as a unified force."

April 22 to 30 has been earmarked as this year's Dance Week, to coincide with the birthday of the eighteenth-century French choreographer, ballet master, and dance theorist Jean-Georges Noverre. It was thanks largely to Noverre that dramatic ballet was liberated from its lowly role of divertissement for the concert hall: Noverre's writings inspired choreographers like Fokine, Laban and Jooss to plumb the dramatic depths of the art form.

"I had a phone call last week from the White House inquiring about Dance Week's dates," Goulding said, and while President Clinton has yet to issue an Oval Office proclamation officially recognizing Dance Week, Goulding said that officials were showing considerably more interest than last year. Fame star and choreographer Debbie Allen has been named national celebrity spokesperson and Joe Tremaine is education spokesperson for Dance Week 2000. …

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