San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

August 28th, 2011
Coffee shop to host Sunday fundraiser for dance students

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Samantha Beasley of ARTheism. COURTESY PHOTO


A fundraiser featuring live digital art and dance performances will be held Sunday evening at Wake the Dead Coffee House in San Marcos.

Texas State students in Merge Dance Company need help paying for their plane tickets to Brooklyn, New York, where they have been selected to perform at the prestigious 11th Annual Dumbo Dance Festival in late September. Texas State University will cover hotel expenses for the eight dance students while they attend the 4-day festival.

The event at Wake the Dead begins at 7 p.m. with a vinyl record sale, and various solo and duo dance performances will occur shortly thereafter. Live digital art and dance duo ARTheism will perform at 9 p.m. There is no cover for the informal show, though the dance company may accept donations.

ARTheism includes San Marcos residents Samantha Beasley and Topher Sipes. Their performances feature Sipes’ visuals (created on a digital drawing tablet) and Beasley’s choreography.

“When Sam and Topher go into a ‘drance,’ their energies are combined, focused and shared with viewers so that all present may explore emotive terrain collectively,” according to a statement from ARTheism. “Without relying on pre-rendered video, visual sensors or audio sensitive software, visual syncopation is achieved by drawing rhythmically. No performance can be duplicated — only raw, live expression is permitted.”

Merge Dance Company is a student-professor, collaborative project designed to educate Texas State dance majors about dance companies. Merge Dance Company facilitates regular performances featuring faculty and guest artist choreography. The company provides students with practical experience in arts administration, touring, fund-raising, and outreach.

“We’re trying to build a repertoire as a dance company that focuses on community action projects and bringing dance into the community,” Beasley said. “And so we (Merge) bring in guest artists and guest speakers from around the world that will put on conscientious dance pieces…and we’re also trying to implement after-school dance programs in elementary, middle, and high school.”

Merge will perform dance piece “Sick”, at the Dumbo festival. The piece, based on the classic children’s poem by Shel Silverstein (of the same title), is choreographed by Texas State dance faculty member Pat Stone. The piece is intended to be easily incorporated into school curricula as an example of literature enhanced by quality dance.

The Dumbo Dance Festival is presented in conjunction with the Dumbo Arts Festival. The festival is a multidisciplinary celebration of the neighborhood’s artistic community and features new work from dancers in New York City’s contemporary dance scene. This year’s festival will attract dancers from across the country and from Canada, Italy, and Japan.

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