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On the hoof: Dance show sends audience skipping across Red Hook

Move your body: Cora Dance’s “Common Dance” event will occur at 31 indoor and outdoor locations in Red Hook, and audience members decide where to go and what to see.
Tod Seelie

This show is guaranteed to move you.

A combination scavenger hunt and dance festival will send audiences scattering across Red Hook on Sept. 19 and Sept. 26 in search of world-class dance. High-stepping visitors will have to track down members of the Cora Dance Studio, and in the process will discover side of the neighborhood they may never have seen before, says the show’s organizer.

“It’s a walking tour and it’s seeing dancers, but it’s also buying a drink at a bar you’ve never been to, and visiting a place you didn’t know existed,” said Shannon Hummel, who brought the company to Red Hook in 2009.

The “Common Dance” extravaganza begins at the company’s box office on Van Dyke Street, where patrons will acquire a map of Red Hook that marks the 31 locations where nearly 100 short dance routines will be performed during the four-hour event.

Dance hunters must plan their route and fox trot across the neighborhood to the venues and shows they find most enticing. With four or five performances happening at every moment of the show, there is no way to see them all. Coordinating all the locations and shows required a dizzying number of careful steps, said Hummel.

“It is easily logistically the most challenging thing I’ve ever done — easily,” she said.

She chose the 31 venues to introduce audiences to the various aspects of Red Hook, so the scavenger hunt will take patrons to bars, churches, private homes, and housing projects in their quest for the terpsichorean arts.

“I think Red Hook can be very divided in some ways and I wanted the audience to feel excited about going into all parts of the community, whether its businesses they’ve never been to before, public housing, a playground, or a courtyard space outside one of the NYCHA buildings. I wanted them to feel the community as a whole,” said Hummel.

Hummel choreographs her dancers in a very modern style, but draws on their personal backgrounds in ballet, hip-hop, or other styles to craft a routine that is perfect for them.

“Each dancer brings with them a technique that’s unique to them,” she said. “As a choreographer, I use that as a springboard to create something new.”

Common Dance starts at the Cora Dance Box Office [72 Van Dyke St. between Richards and Dwight streets in Red Hook, (718) 858–2520, www.coradance.org]. Sept. 19 and Sept. 26. Box office opens at 2:30 pm. Performances 3–7 pm. $25 suggested donation, $3 minimum.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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