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Nov 9 - Dec 31, 2023



SpectorDance’s mission is “To Create and Present Dance that Makes a Difference!”
Everything we do—whether creative, pedagogical, community-oriented, and managerial—serves this purpose. We live in a world that has become divided in many ways: wealthy and poor, urban and rural, politically progressive and conservative, educated and uneducated. We see dance, grounded in the human body we all share, as a means of coming together communally. Moreover, we see dance as a vehicle for education and enlightenment. Dance at its best can inform, build deep empathy, motivate and inspire action, and transform both participants and viewers.

Our vision is “A world where everyone is connected, informed, and inspired through the beauty and power of dance.”

Our Priorities include:

CREATIVE VITALITY: We celebrate creative vitality in our practice, using technology to merge factual information with aesthetic elements. We highlight other artists who have too few opportunities to present their work, and we provide our audiences an experience of the creative vitality and diversity of dance today.

SOCIAL RELEVANCE: We employ dance to address important social issues, including such topics as ocean health, climate change, gang violence, and the complexities of agriculture. Our work begins with research and filmed interviews with experts.

COLLABORATION: We value strong community partnerships as the foundation of all projects. We have partnered with many outstanding non-arts organizations to create works about critical social issues. These works are informative, substantial, and artistically exciting. Our partnerships have connected to diverse parts of our community and have enriched us individually and as an organization.

MENTORING YOUTH ARTISTS: SpectorDance provides creative opportunities for youth to participate in the creation and presentation of dance that makes a difference. During the pandemic, we engaged a group of high school age dancers in a film version of Ocean Trilogy, for broad distribution in schools. We are aligning with the United Nations program Youth for Climate Action “to amplify youth voices.” Ocean Arts Festival is another example of our youth mentorship.

COMMUNITY INPUT is essential to every stage of our work. By using filmed interviews as the starting point for our artistic practice, we are beginning with “input from the community.” This process is evident in past works already described. It is also predominant in other past works such as “Common Ground,” a partnership with the United Farm Workers about California agriculture, and “Maize, the Golden Thread,” about Indigenous practices relating to corn.

These cultural priorities will continue to guide us in the future as we develop new and meaningful partnerships with artists and organizations that enable us to delve into critical topics and have a positive impact on our community through creative practice.

The Big Idea

Support in 2024 will enable SpectorDance to present:

• Ocean Trilogy Project performances and creative movement workshops exploring ocean health (in partnership with Hartnell College). (January to March and September to November=)
• Ocean Arts Festival featuring ocean-themed art in all genres created by young artists from elementary, middle, and high school, up to 24 years old (in partnership with the Monterey Museum of Art). We believe that creativity practice will inspire the next generation of ocean stewards and climate action leaders. (May)
• The Choreographers’ Showcase features choreographers from all over the state and nation who present socially relevant dance works (in partnership with the Forest Theater). It gives local audiences a chance to see the vitality and diversity of dance happening NOW! (October)
• Wildfires, a new performance highlighting highlighting Indigenous approaches to managing fire and living in harmony with nature.

As a local radio journalist from NPR on 90.3 KAZU the Monterey Bay Area, for many years, I have kept up through stories and conversations with Fran Spector Atkins and her brilliant dance projects. It has been a reassuring pleasure to follow her adventures in artistic expression and community involvement like a North Star on the Monterey Peninsula. From gang violence to conservation of the ocean to overcoming isolation from the coronavirus experience, she has been a healing and creative force to budding dancers and appreciative audiences. Spector Dance helps us rise up and reach out to make the world a better place.

- Lisa Ledin