Unusual Showcase Melds Art and Science of Body
The Oakland Tribune: Local News, Monday June 2, 1997
By Alicia Gooden
Oakland – Ballet dancers, hip-hop jazz ensembles and poets were part of Sunday’s Dance on the Edge of Water Festival at Jack London Square.
The eclectic outdoor festival was presented by Moving On Center, An Oakland school of Participatory Arts and research. School officials say its goal is to “fuse the performing arts with the most recent developments in body sciences.”
“With our performances, we expect the audience to participate to reap the full benefits of what we do,” said Tania Llambelis, festival coordinator.
And participation is what they got.
“This is so much fun,” said Nadia Alex, an audience member who was brave enough to be enticed on stage to dance during one the jazz performances. “It’s not like regular concerts or events that hold you back and won’t let you enjoy yourself.”
Center executive director Carol Swann said the festival was aimed at showing “the community how to love their bodies and take care of them while appreciating the performing arts. We not only teach our students to dance, we show them how to be health care providers and practitioners.”
The center’s curriculum is focused around holistic and alternative health regimens.
“We believe dancers know their bodies so we not only focus on dance movements but things such as somatics, kinetics and massage therapy,” she said. “All these things play a big part in the holistic health of a human being.”
The festival included free massages, dance improvisation and somatics – movement that heals the body and the soul.
“The dance improvs allow the dancers to feed off one another’s energies,” Swann explained.
“We wanted to get performers together from different types of ethnic and dance backgrounds and show people that there is more than just one way of doing things. I think we’ve done that, by looking at the crowd,” she said.
“There are people here who might not have otherwise seen the Oakland Ballet, heard Jungle Biscuit perform hip-hop jazz, or receive a massage if we had not put this festival together,” said Swann.