Perry-Mansfield and First Friday Artwalk bring street performances to art galleries this Friday |

Perry-Mansfield and First Friday Artwalk bring street performances to art galleries this Friday

Dancer Ryan Dervin
John F. Russell

— The sidewalks of Lincoln Avenue will come alive this weekend at the First Friday Artwalk.

About 26 dancers from Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp’s pre-professional dance intensive program will create structured improvisations based on poems and works of art at six art gallery locations.

This is the first time First Friday Artwalk and Perry-Mansfield have partnered to bring live performance art to downtown.

“I think that Perry-Mansfield doesn’t have the benefit of being seen as much in the community, and when I was first approached about the collaboration, I thought it fit in perfectly with highlighting all of Steamboat’s creative assets,” said Linda Laughlin, executive director for the Center for Visual Art who coordinates the monthly First Friday Artwalk.

High school and college dancers from across the country who are currently enrolled in the Perry-Mansfield program started rehearsing in groups of five or six last Sunday on choreography that captures the essence of the artwork.

“For me this experience just opens your mind to something beyond what people traditionally think of dance,” said Myles Hunter, second-year pre-professional dancer from Los Angeles who is going to the Juilliard School of Dance next year. “Now, dance is becoming something you can do in art galleries or outside. The concept of it has become much broader, and you don’t have to fit some mold.”

The Perry-Mansfield dancers will not be performing on a stage but instead near bystanders and subject to the elements and unforeseen moments of spontaneity — something that makes the planning component of rehearsals a challenge.

“We have talked about how they can be engaging with the art by finding ways they can become like the pieces in the gallery,” said Jennifer Golonka, Perry-Mansfield director of dance. “You will see a lot of moments when they are being still so they almost become a piece of artwork themselves. Then we talked about how we can use our bodies like clay and mold it into shapes and sculpt movement from that.”

Not only do the students have a chance to collaborate and develop their own choreography, they have the opportunity to explore the realms of improvisational dance.

“In an outdoor setting like this, the movement will bring out different emotions because you won’t have music or lights and people will see you in a different kind of way,” said Kelly O’Rourke, first-year pre-professional dance student. “I like that you can just be yourself and do whatever movements come naturally to you and what you feel in the moment. It will be fun to see what happens.”

Lincoln Avenue Artwalk venues hosting the dancers will include the Wildhorse Gallery, the Chief Theater, the Center for Visual Arts, Harwigs L’Apogee, Ski Town Computing and Circle 7 Fine Art Gallery. Laghlin said that if the response from the public is good, she will explore other possible street acts for future Artwalk events.

For a complete list of First Friday Artwalk venues visit

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

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