New Hampshire Dance Collaborative originated from my involvement in a citizen action arts initiative called ArtFront. My hometown of Manchester, New Hampshire is classic New England mill town, situated on the Amoskeag river. While it’s the largest city in the state with a population of 112,000 and counting, the sense of New England small town remains strong, It’s not unusual to see our mayor out to dinner with friends and family and various elected officials just going about their lives. It’s a place where anyone with the desire to be involved in the community can carve a niche and actually affect change. It’s a place where people get to know your name and local restaurants not only fill the need for dining but also strengthen a sense of community.
One such restaurant was at the heart of ArtFront. Through it’s name, the owner’s intent for a gathering place for the people, is clear. Republic Restaurant, in the heart of downtown Manchester, nurtured the sort of relationships between guests that led 4 citizens to organize a pop-up show that took the city by storm. Three successful nights of ArtFront taught me that dance can gain a foothold in the public’s appreciation. Dance is, by all statistics of attendance, the least supported of art forms in the United States. Through the ArtFront pop-up, I learned that including dance as one element in relationship to other artistic disciplines in which the dancers are up close and personal works to engage the audience. I witnessed small crowds stand transfixed when the dancers made their entrances and danced with skill and imagination upon Vivian Beer’s sensuous sculptures.
Every city thrives when the arts are vibrant and well supported. The arts provide an infrastructure that, in my mind, serve as the glue for the businesses, restaurants and civic structures to exist together. However, art, available only after a ticket has been procured and a certain intimidation has been overcome, isn’t the experience that the founders of ArtFront had in mind or that New Hampshire Dance Collaborative seeks to produce.
I launched New Hampshire Dance Collaborative the following year with the goal of bringing the community together with engaging, challenging and fun opportunities to experience interdisciplinary performances with plenty of opportunities to ask questions and learn. I’m committed to provide dancers with challenging, unique and well paid projects. I hope to make collaboration with partner organizations possible by financially underwriting as much of the project as possible. This website serves as a place for dancers to make themselves known to NHDC and for the community to hear about fun, social and relaxed ways to see and get to know dance within an interdisciplinary context.