Categories: Create

Andee Scott’s ambitious Covid-era dance project looks skyward

Andee Scott likes to think big. And once she’s done that, she thinks bigger.

The Tampa-based dancer, choreographer and college-level instructor’s summer series of public performances, “Dance in the Time of Coronavirus,” will draw to an end – at least temporarily – in August. Created and produced in collaboration with Amanda Sieradski, the socially-distanced performances began June 13 and took place, more or less, every other Saturday.

Scott’s “Constellation,” scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Aug. 8, is more ambitious than its predecessors – and different in significant ways.

For Scott, connectivity, and spatial relationships, are important. “I’m always trying to make connections with people close, and with people far,” she explains. “And it’s also this idea of, how can we cast the net wider? How does it become amplified? We can have this event locally, but how is it possible for us to actually locate in multiple places at the same time?”

Magically, the answer was delivered: Spread dancers (aka “stars”) across the country, across the time zones (aka “constellations”), and you’ve created a unified universe of continuous movement.

“I feel like this dance is a way to fill in the interstitial space,” Scott says. “In my mind’s eye I imagine this net of stars, and then the pathways between the stars become more real.”

Five of Scott’s own dancers will perform the choreography starting at 11 a.m. from a public park near her home; she’s not advertising it, not making it a public thing, to avoid the whole social distancing issue.

The dancers will be videotaped.

That’s 8 a.m. in California. Realizing she couldn’t very well ask her San Francisco or Boulder or Austin friends to be videotaping the dance early in the morning, she created a schedule for everyone, in every American time zone (there’s a dancer in Mexico, too).

All will be livestreamed, as they happen, on thestudio@620’s website.

Says the creator: “I thought well, the stars move across the sky. I love things that are kind of marking space as the globe moves underneath them. It seems like a very romantic idea to me. And it honors where each of us live – we’re not all trying to be the same, we’re taking a step along this journey when it’s our time.

“Then it becomes this really beautiful idea: Somehow the dance is moving across the county. Somehow, the dance itself is traveling through space, if you will.”

Scott will then spend a week creating a video installation, combining every video from every time zone, which be set up in the front window of thestudio@620, starting at 5 p.m. Aug. 15. “So then all the dances and the dancers will be in a constellation with each other in this localized location,” Scott beams.

“One day, we’ll do one that will gently march around the entire world. There’s always a larger version of every project I’m doing.”

“Constellations” will be followed Aug. 22 by Sieradski’s “(e)Volution,” at Seaplane Basin Park and Davis Islands Trail in Tampa. This one is best observed from auto traffic.

And that’ll be a wrap for “Dance in the Time of Coronavirus.” Scott says she and her collaborator are concerned about the still-rising Covid numbers in the bay area. And they’re both going back to work: Sieradski teaches dance at the University of Tampa, while Scott is on the University of South Florida faculty.

“Just trying to be smart about finding ways to pay artists,” Scott says, “and to make the work happen.”

June 2: Andee Scott and Amanda Sieradski on The Catalyst Sessions:

Bill DeYoung

Catalyst Senior Writer and Editor Bill DeYoung was a St. Petersburg Times correspondent at the age of 17. He went on to a 30-year career at newspapers in Florida and Georgia. He is the author of "Skyway: The True Story of Tampa Bay's Signature Bridge and the Man Who Brought it Down," "Phil Gernhard Record Man" and "I Need to Know: The Lost Music Interviews."

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