Innovative Dance Event at Workhouse ArtWalk: “Mise en Dance”
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Innovative Dance Event at Workhouse ArtWalk: “Mise en Dance”

The Workhouse’s monthly “2nd Saturday ArtWalk” has been showcasing the diverse work of visual artists. “It is a unique time to meet the artists and watch them create new pieces,” said Joseph Wallen, performing arts director.

Now a new element is being added to ArtWalk; a performing arts component with a “backstage” flavor.

“We are very excited to introduce a performing arts component to the ArtWalk through a collaboration with Beth Elliott Dance,” noted Wallen. “This is a rare opportunity for visitors to experience a new dance piece being created.”

Beth Elliott Dance Group (BEDG) aims not just to create dance works but to provide “a venue to educate and grow dancers and choreographers and to help them to develop their potential as artists,” said founder Beth Elliott. BEDG is "more than a dance company.”

The Springfield-based dance troupe is in residence at Northern Virginia Community College and has performed at local venues such as the Reston Community Center and Harmon Hall in D.C.

For Elliott she is focused on advancing the understanding of dance. “A dance starts out as a personal and private imagining inside the choreographer's mind, and is translated through speech to body and movement utilizing actual people - not paint, clay, or an instrument…”

Where and When

Beth Elliott Dance Group presents “Mise en Dance” at 2nd Saturday ArtWalk, Workhouse Performing Arts Center, 9518 Workhouse Way, Lorton Performance: July 11, 6-9 p.m. Free event. For information call 703-584-2900 or visit http://www.workho...">www.workhousearts...

The dance group will be developing dance works for its annual Small Plates Choreography Festival coming this fall. “I started Small Plates to create meaningful performance opportunities in Northern Virginia, and to build a community of dancers and choreographers interested in developing and showing their work,” said Eliott.

“The term ‘Small Plates’ comes from the culinary world. The dances are kept short-under 10 minutes. This gives as many choreographers as possible the opportunity to have work seen, and it makes for a varied program for the audience. Like dining on small plates, we offer little tastes of lots of different things.”

At ArtWalk, Elliott will be creating a cooperative performance environment called ”Mise en Dance” her made-up-word for preparing to dance. “I want to open up the choreographic process to the audience and give them a chance to see how dance is created.” Then the audience can provide “their feedback about what they see, and to provide insight that will influence the direction of the completed work.”

Joyce Thomas, a Northern Virginia dancer with BEDG, invited audiences to be part of “why dance endures as a form of artistic expression.”