Project calls for all to dance 

Where will you be on March 18 at noon? You could be sitting at your cubicle, eating lunch or waiting for the light to change. No matter your location, dancer and artist Beth Fein hopes you will stand up and dance, along with thousands of other participants of her project, called dance anywhere.

The once-a-year, worldwide, simultaneous dance-a-thon that began in 2005 has its roots in a casual conversation between Fein and her fellow dancers.

“We were coming home one night from a dance performance and asking, ‘Why do we always have to perform in this formal way, at eight o’clock on a Friday or Saturday night?’” recalls Fein.  “Why doesn’t everybody everywhere just get up and dance?”

Fein, an East Bay-based contemporary dancer and visual artist, gathered her first group of dance anywhere participants by e-mailing an invitation that welcomed people to stop in their tracks and dance, at the same time, worldwide.

Last year, dance anywhere had participants on every continent except Antarctica.

“This year I’m looking for someone on the South Pole to dance. I’ve e-mailed some scientists to see if they’d be interested,” says Fein with a laugh.

Now in its sixth year, dance anywhere has a Facebook profile and a website where participants can create their own profile, whether they are an established dance troupe or independent individual or group.

“You don’t have to be a dancer to do it. You can do it in your living room and dance at the same time as everyone else,” Fein says. “I love when I get pictures of people in an office and I love the beautiful trained dancers too. It’s a nice inclusive event.”  

Professional and established dancers also are participating in public spaces across the Bay Area, offering 15- to 30-minute performances.  Previous locations have included taxis, street cars, rooftops, bridges, streets and subway stations.

Currently, dance anywhere has about 530 RSVPs on Facebook, but the number will grow exponentially by noon next Friday, when many may join spontaneously. In the past, numbers have been in the thousands.

“The very first year we did it in Berkeley, and we had at least one dancer on every corner, and people joined in,” says Fein. “Every year, people just stop and start to dance with us. It’s a public art project.  We put it out there and people pick it up and make it their own.”

Although celebrating dance across the globe is one aspect of the project, Fein’s main priority is to remind people of the accessibility of art.

“Anybody can have art in their lives,” says Fein.  “If you’re not an artist or a dancer, you don’t have to wait to go see dance, and when it’s in a public space it absolutely transforms environments and how you look at what’s around you.”


Dance anywhere

Where: Bay Area locations and across the globe

When: March 18 at noon

Tickets: Free


Select local public presentations   

Alyce Finwall Dance Theater
Ferry Building, The Embarcadero at Market Street, S.F.

Beth Fein and Company
Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland

The Foundry
Civic Center BART station to Powell Street BART station

Kara Davis and project agora
Lincoln Park, S.F.

People on premises
Mission Cultural Center, 2868 Mission St., S.F.

Sonsherée Giles and Rodney Bell of Axis Dance Company
Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St., S.F.

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Lauren Gallagher

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