The Barefoot Collective Defies Gravity

Stephanie Pederson in flight. Photo: Michael Hoover

For anyone who doubts the existence of extraterrestrials in our midst, this writer would point to the phenomenon of modern dancers – those gravity-defying beings who skim the earth’s surface with pantherine grace, precision and athleticism. This idea took hold a few days ago, after I had a spectacular bike crash in which, after braking for a red light on a steep downhill, my road bike stopped and I flew over the handlebars with feet still clipped to the pedals. While mid-air, I considered that the situation might look a lot worse than it felt. Fortunately, this turned out to be true, as I reassured the driver who jumped out of his car to offer help. Later, a friend kindly suggested that my aerial feat was worthy of the Cirque du Soleil…sure, except that I didn’t land on my feet (and I would have paid to ditch the audience at the traffic stop).

tBFC dancers Kristie Hoke, Tracey Lewis and Jamie Pederson. Photo: Carlos Sanchez

One can hardly imagine such faux pas from the talented members of the Barefoot Collective (tBFC), a local dance company who, since 2008, have earned plaudits for original, contemporary works of power and passion. tBFC is the recipient of a three-month Spaceworks Tacoma creative residency that will support the completion of a major piece, The Ides of May, to be performed the weekend of May 14-15. The studio will also hold community auditions and offer dance instruction to students of all levels at the 915 Pacific Avenue rehearsal space.

Performance at the Museum of Glass. Photo: Michael Hoover

The Ides of May is built on a series of individual vignettes “organized like a concert,” according to tBFC co-director Katie Stricker. Conceived last fall, the project includes an educational component to take place at Gig Harbor High School, where tBFC is facilitating a dance-and-composition workshop. Students will eventually create their own dance piece for inclusion in The Ides of May. The spring showcase will also feature performances by MGMHArts, BQ Danza and other artists to be announced.

Stricker says the large Spaceworks studio will accommodate installation of the company’s marley floor, which allows dancers to rehearse in the exact space/conditions in which they will be performing. “Consistent, quality rehearsal space is invaluable for the creation of dance works,” she says. Stricker, along with co-directors  Michael Hoover, Stephanie Pederson, Carrie Goodnight and Amanda Herman begin work in the new performance space on March 1. I’ll look forward to viewing their fantastic physical feats, from the mere mortals section, with feet planted on the ground. The Barefoot Collective, 915 Pacific Avenue, March 1 – May 31, 2011. Performances May 14 (3pm and 7:30pm) and May 15 (3pm). www.barefootcollective.org.

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