Established in 1993, the Community Dance Projects invite a wide range of community members to collaborate with Festival students and well-known choreographers in the creation of a new work. Past participants have included martial artists, hip hop poets, musicians, dancers, actors, photographers, visual artists, public school and college teachers, administrators, city planners, psychotherapists, athletes, carpenters, differently-abled teens and many others. Community members have ranged in age from 12 to 80 and come from many different backgrounds.
Projects have ranged from site-specific works for Gilsland Farm Audubon Sanctuary and the Portland Museum of Art — “A Curious Invasion” and “If Wishes Were Horses Beggars Would Ride” by Sara Pearson/Patrik Widrig & Company; to Mill Town by Stephan Koplowitz that features local teens; to works that focused on the family — “Familiar Movements” by David Dorfman; to a celebration of the new millennium — “The Hallelujah Project” by Liz Lerman Dance Exchange; to a mixed abilities collaboration with Judith Smith of AXIS Dance Company. Choreographers Martha Renzi, Martha Bowers, Jeff Bliss, Peter DiMuro and Everett Dance Theatre have also led successful projects. Throughout the three-week developmental workshops participants are engaged in collaborative dancemaking with an emphasis on the creative process. The projects culminate in pubic performances as part of the Festival’s season and have consistently received standing ovations, attracted new audiences, and helped build bridges among various sectors of the community.