Nora Sharp isn’t a typical dancer.
“I grew up playing classical music intensely,” she said in an interview on Easter morning. Sharp didn’t start dancing until she was nearing the end of her tenure at Oberlin College.
Being relatively new to dance and relatively new to Chicago, Sharp felt gaps in the community in trying to find positive places to train, learn, grow, and perform. “Like many projects, it starts in a place of ‘I have a personal need,’ but it ends up snowballing into something that has the potential to serve a greater purpose or a greater need.”
The Scatterdance Festival is an ambitious series, beginning last month with class series exploring alternative ballet, modern technique, partnering and performance… a veritable plethora of themes featuring an impressive line-up of teachers (myself notwithstanding). Today and tomorrow, Scatterdance is also putting on a dance show at Hamlin Park Fieldhouse presenting choreographers with varying levels of experience in dancemaking. On the bill with Sharp are Greer Dworman and Erica Rickets, The Space/Movement Project, and NYC-based Micheline Heal.
That a lot of goals for a first time producer/dancemaker new to Chicago, and, at first glance, don’t really make sense together.
But in getting to know Nora Sharp, her string of ambitions become more clear, and I found myself sharing some of the same wishes and desires she has for the dance community. At its core, Scatterdance is about celebrating the process. It’s about removing layers of negativity that sometimes surround technique, the creative process, ballet, and more. It’s about creating positivity around topics that, for some, create anxiety, discomfort, competition, self-deprecation.
More than just another dance show, Sharp is most passionate about the concurrent class series and creating a different kind of space for the dance community. “I’m really interested in being part of a community where being present is valued.” It’s not about replacing what currently exists, but rather providing more options for the dance community to share in; “it’s just…and also let’s have this… and I think it will make us all feel really good!”
That’s something that everyone can get behind, and Scatterdance has the tenacity and enthusiasm to make it all happen.
The Scatterdance Festival Performances take place May 1 and 2 at Hamlin Part Theatre (3035 N. Hoyne) at 7:30pm. Tickets are $10 available at the door and online