Local dance ethnologist and performer Helene Eriksen has been a gem of the Seattle dance community since she moved here years ago. Helene is a real mover-and-shaker in the world of traditional dances of the Balkans and Islamic Orient, sharing her passion for the material through choreographing and staging performances, and teaching workshops around the world. For years she has hosted a year-long dance intensive, ANAR DANA, in which students learn a collection of folk dances, which then culminates in a two-night engagement at a theater to present the works to the public.
The economy has been tough on everyone, and the arts are some of the hardest hit sectors of our lives. It is not cheap or simple to stage such a production, and student participation is down this year as well. Add to this that grant funding has not bee forthcoming, and the ANAR DANA project finds need of supporters to keep things rolling.
Micro-funding is a popular trend in recent years, allowing regular joes to contribute as little or as much funding as they wish to help support various programs they are inspired to support. Micro-funding websites, like Kickstarter and Indie-Gogo, are a fantastic way to connect the enthusiasm of our friends, family, fans and colleagues with the artists most in need of a financial boost to keep their endeavors successful (or even possible!) Using Kickstarter, Helene has turned to the community to seek support for ANAR DANA, placing within our hands the opportunity to further these important programs which keep historical dance traditions alive and real for modern audiences.
A little bit about ANAR DANA:
Every year in September a new group of women begin on the ten-month long journey that is ANAR DANA: meeting once a month for an intensive twelve-hour weekend workshop. This year’s repertoire includes dances from the Khoresm region of Uzbekistan, from Iran’s Bandari region of the Persian Gulf, from the mountains of Georgia, from the central Anatolian city of Elazığ, from the coffee house traditions of early 20th century Lebanon, to the deserts of the West Sahara. The women then spend the year learning technique, choreography, dance notation, yoga, music analysis, staging, costuming, stage make-up and historical and cultural background information for the dances. They pour their hearts as well as a considerable amount of time, energy and money into creating an amazing show in June.
Check out their Kickstarter video below, and when you’re done, hop over to their ANAR DANA Kickstarter page and contribute what you can to keep this valuable local dance program thriving in 2012!