Dancing in the Aisles

Veteran choreographer Danelle Helander of Helander Dance Theater knows how hard producing a show can be. "I was getting frustrated. Every time I'd go to produce a concert, it was so expensive," she says."But I also love the idea of doing art in places where people least expect it."

From there, it wasn't too hard to put two and two together: She began to pitch the idea of site-specific performances to local groceries, finding a supportive match in Boulder's Lucky's Market. That's how Happenstance, a series of impromptu dances through the aisles and atop the soda machines at Lucky's, became a reality. On selected dates throughout the spring, Helander's dancers surprised shoppers with their moves.

"People didn't know how to take it," Helander says, adding that reactions were all over the board, from delighted and amused to totally freaked out. One oblivious man, she remembers, bolted when he realized two dancers were twirling around him. Overall, though, it was a happy success, and an inspiring one: "Now I'm thinking I'd like to do it at Macy's," she muses. "I love the whole idea of collaboration between business and the arts."

Bottom line, maybe you had to be there, but maybe you didn't: The entire experiment was documented, and the results, along with extra video footage submitted by onlookers, will be screened tonight at 8 p.m. in the Boedecker Theater at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder. Interspersed will be segments of live performance, with live music and fabric figures by fiber artist Sara Rockinger; for tickets, $15 to $17, call 303-440-7826 or go to thedairy.frontgatetickets.com.
Tue., May 8, 8 p.m., 2012

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd