SARASOTA - It's National Dance Week, and it's very easy to take part here on the Suncoast.
Booker High School dance student Erica Janko came up with a great idea when she saw "Dance for World Community Day" in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "I saw all these dance groups and non-profit organizations coming together, taking classes, dancing together, and I thought wow, this is great. And then I thought how there are all these different dance groups in Sarasota, and how they sort of were competing with each other in a way that I thought could be molded together to be more conducive to collaboration," says Janko.
And that's how the Sarasota Manatee Dance Alliance was born. And this weekend they're celebrating National Dance Week with two days off free events called SRQ Dances 2013. “This is a collaboration of the Sarasota Manatee Dance Alliance, in conjunction with the West Coast Civic Ballet. They received a grant from the Arts and Cultural Alliance to help us put on a very large event for National Dance Week," says trainer Lynn Hocker.
It starts with Friday night at 6:00 in front of Whole Foods in Sarasota. "It's going to be six mini dance classes of different styles, from salsa, ballet, belly dance, hip-hop, Afro-Cuban fusion."
And that will be followed by a big block party with a DJ.
And the celebration continues Saturday at the Downtown Farmers Market. “From 10am-12pm at the south end of Lemon Avenue, where the mermaid fountain is, there will be seven different performing groups. Again, all different styles of dance,” says Hocker.
The Booker High School dancers will perform. “And my company, Moving Ethos Dance Company, will be doing a snippet of a work that was commissioned by Selby Gardens. And it’s all about gardens and different aspects of gardens," says Courtney Smith Inzalaco of Moving Ethos Dance Company.
Followed by Fuzion Dance Company, quite a line up. "You'll get a good idea of the range of dance happening in this community, from Booker High students, to West Coast Civic Ballet, other modern dance companies like Fuzion Dance Artists, the different styles of dance that are out there,” says Fuzion Dance co-founder Leymis Bolanos Wilmott.
Janko says it's taught her how effective collaboration is. "Working together you can accomplish so much more than if you're by yourself."