SpectorDance Company: Creating & Presenting Dance That Makes A Difference
SpectorDance Company presents issue-based multidisciplinary works using a signature style that blends visual media, verbal material, and music with dance. Fran Spector Atkins, lead artist has collaborated with William Roden, a nationally recognized media artist, for over 25 years. Together they have created dance works that address some of today’s most pressing socio-economic topics such as climate change, gang violence and juvenile justice, agricultural history, military family sacrifice and more.
Each SpectorDance project begins with the selection of a topic about a critical social issue that affects our community. We then embark upon extensive research and seek out experts in the field to interview. Once these interviews have been collected and recorded, selected sound bites are woven in with related visual images and a music mix. Finally, dancers explore movements that physically express the concepts covered and their responses to them. In this way, we believe that our artistic practice can inform and communicate in new and powerful ways.
Every project is unique, and involves SpectorDance forging meaningful partnerships with a wide variety of outstanding non-arts organizations. Past collaborators include the Monterey Aquarium Research Institute and Rancho Cielo, an award-winning vocational training program for at-risk young adults. These partnerships enable us to delve into socially-relevant topics from firsthand perspectives, reach broader audiences, and translate facts and empirical information into a dynamic art experience. Innovative engagement programs that bring dance, artistry and education to the community are also associated with each project. Our works employ dance to inform, heal, transform, build community and inspire action.
In recent years, wildfires have blackened our skies, damaged our forests and iconic trees, poisoned our air quality and destroyed our homes. Driven by climate change, the expansion of urban boundaries and misguided fire suppression policies, wildfires are becoming more prevalent and severe. As with every natural disaster, wildfires disproportionately affect low-income communities and people of color – the same communities who have been hit hardest by COVID-19.
In response to these critical issues, we are embarking on a new project. Wildfires, a performance that will bring together scientific and Indigenous knowledge about trees, forests and the land. It will highlight the Native American approach to managing fire and living in harmony with the nature we all share. Wildfires will also demonstrate how dance can build bridges among diverse parts of our community, help us to heal the past and to move into the future with greater understanding. The piece aims to bring forward new perspectives on the forest- perspectives imbued with reverence, reciprocity, responsibility, respect and resilience.
Wildfires will premiere in fall 2023.
Click video above to hear Fran talk about her signature style that weaves together factual and aesthetic elements. She blends music, spoken word, and visual media with dance to create productions that inform and inspire.
Spector Atkins’s work is intelligent and creative. She is exceptionally successful at blending artistry and scholarship in her work. Often inspired by the landscapes and people of Monterey County, her choreography is beautiful, even as she explores complex issues such as social justice and coming of age in a violent world. Fran’s collaborative work is of the highest caliber.” Colleen Bailey, Former Executive Director of the National Steinbeck Center
"Fran Spector Atkins is a tour de force in our community and throughout the country. She masterfully weaves her art making with dialogue about the toughest and most complex issues we face. She is an asset to our region and an inspiration for everyone who meets her. Whenever I say that "the arts are the answer", I think of Fran's gorgeous, daring, innovative and powerful work." Paulette Lynch, former Executive Director of the Arts Council for Monterey County