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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: July 26, 2016

Alison Chase/Performance takes dance outside in Maine

Written by: Bob Keyes
Outdoor performances by Alison Chase's dance troupe this weekend and next week will include a stop at Congress Square Park in Portland on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Alison Chase

Outdoor performances by Alison Chase’s dance troupe this weekend and next week will include a stop at Congress Square Park in Portland on Wednesday.
Photo courtesy of Alison Chase

Her New York dance troupe and a steel band join Alison Chase for Maine open-air performances.

Alison Chase, co-founder and former artistic director of the dance companies Pilobolus and Momix, understands that people want to be outside in Maine in the summer. So does she. She lives in Brooksville and soaks up summer the same as anyone else.

“People come to Maine, and they don’t want to be indoors,” said Chase. “We’re bringing dance to where the audiences want to be.”

Along with the Atlantic Clarion Steel Band, Chase and her dance troupe perform “Dancing with Steel” this week at parks, squares and landings, from Winter Harbor to Portland. The tour began last week in Brooksville and Belfast. Chase’s nephew, Nigel Chase, directs the steel band.

Performances are scheduled for Thursday at the Schoodic Institute; Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Fort Knox in Prospect; Tuesday in Deer Isle; Wednesday at Congress Square Park in Portland; and Aug. 4 at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport. Admission is by donation, though there are also entry fees at the state parks.

Chase is touring with her six-member New York company, known as Alison Chase/Performance. She usually brings her dancers to Maine in the summer for her “creative boot camp where we create new work,” she said. “I have these fabulous dancers, and more people should see them perform. That’s why I decided to try this.”

Chase received funds from the Maine Community Foundation to support the tour.

“This is community outreach,” Chase said. “My vision was to take this family repertoire that we have and put it in different locations around the state. Each location will morph the program, because of its backdrop and unique circumstance. The interesting challenge will be to put dance against a beautiful background. You don’t know if an eagle will land and steal the show.”

The program includes several works, including “Monkey and the White Bone Demon,” “Devil Got My Woman” and “Tsu-Ku-Tsu.”

 Photo courtesy of Alison Chase

Photo courtesy of Alison Chase

‘DANCING WITH STEEL’

WHO: Alison Chase with the Atlantic Clarion Steel Band
WHEN & WHERE: 7 p.m. Thursday, Rockefeller Hall, Schoodic Institute, Winter Harbor; 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Fort Knox State Park, Prospect; 5 p.m. Tuesday, Bridge End Park, Deer Isle; 6 p.m. Wednesday, Congress Square, Portland; 5 p.m. Aug. 4, Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, Freeport
ADMISSION: By donation (and entry fees at state parks)
INFO: 326-4205; alisonchase.org/dancingwithsteel

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