simultaneously around the world

Ready, Set, dance anywhere!

photo courtsey of Afshin Odabaee

photo courtesy of Afshin Odabaee

  • The goal of dance anywhere, says founder Beth Fein, is “Simply, can we get everyone to move at noon?”

When East Bay artist Beth Fein created dance anywhere in 2005, she had no idea it would be celebrating a big anniversary a decade later.

“I thought it was going to be a one-time thing, but people had such a blast,” she says, on the phone to promote this year’s event, slated for noon Friday in the Bay Area, 3 p.m. in New York and 8 p.m. in Europe.

The idea is simple: People anywhere and everywhere are encouraged to drop what they’re doing, and take a moment (or as long as they like) to dance. Or they can check the dance anywhere website to find out where public presentations are scheduled across the world; at least 25 are happening in the Bay Area, with many showcasing local dance troupes.

Fein says dance anywhere started as a whim, in a conversation other choreographers: “We were talking about how hard it is as a dancer to present your work, how expensive it is, and yet there’s all this beautiful dance going on that nobody sees.”

It’s difficult to quantify dance anywhere, a non-commercial art project that’s more about creating community than making money, although Fein admittedly tries to raise funds to pay for administration and maintaining the website.

“It’s not Burning Man,” she says, “You pay a lot of money to go there — you don’t need a dime to do this.”

She estimates that “thousands” of people will participate, but is unaware of the full extent of dance anywhere’s reach: “We only know the ones people tell us about,” she says.

Students and teachers in schools are among active participants; one of the most amazing events happened last year when some 1,000 residents of a town in Portugal came out to dance on an ancient bridge.

This year, performances are scheduled in Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Hungary, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as across the U.S.

Unplanned presentations are encouraged, too. Fein points to Peter Cheng’s amazing improvisational 2014 solo piece “Lunch Break” at the old Pacific Bell office on New Montgomery Street. (The video is online).

This year, Fein and her dancers will appear at Jessie Square on Mission Street; across the street, Blind Tiger Society and Nancy Karp + Dancers appear in Yerba Buena Gardens in The City.

Over the years, technological advances have affected the biggest change, particularly in documenting the project. Fein says, “What a different world we were living in then. In 2005, we had to go out and beg for cameras. Now everyone has a cell phone.”


Dance anywhere

When: Noon March 27


San Francisco locations include: City Hall, Crissy Field, Danzhaus, Jessie Square, Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, Red Poppy Art House, Tutubi Plaza, Yerba Buena Gardens