The SpectorDance mission is to create and present dance that makes a difference! Through our signature style that weaves together factual and aesthetic elements, our work informs and inspires. Through collaborations and community engagement, we nurture creativity and connection. The SpectorDance vision is a vibrant world where the beauty and the power of dance fuels the human spirit.
Since our inception in 1997, we have been committed to creating socially-engaged art. Now, with the extraordinary challenges of the pandemic, SpectorDance has responded by offering online classes, creative projects, and virtual performances. These digital programs expand our reach, deepen our impact, and open our imaginations in exciting and limitless ways.
We are blazing a creative path that is artistically exciting—and serves the entire community by providing new opportunities for people who have previously had little or no access to contemporary dance. We remain strongly committed to exploring ways that dance can have an impact on the most pressing issues of our time and provide a forum for the people of Monterey County to experience the power of dance.
Past works include:
In Real Timeis about the Coronavirus experience and thoughts on a post-Covid-19 world. (2020)
Ocean Trilogy is a collaboration with Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute about the hopeful possibilities that result from cutting-edge ocean science research. (2019)
When You Were Goneis inspired by military deployment as seen through the eyes of youth. (2019)
East West is a collaboration with Rancho Cielo about gang violence. (2015)
Ocean is a collaboration with Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) about the challenges confronting the ocean, inspired by filmed interviews with renowned ocean experts. (2013)
Maize The Golden Threadis inspired by indigenous sustainable agricultural practices regarding corn, celebrating the Solstice, and about respecting knowledge of elders. (2008)
Common Ground celebrates the poetry and politics of agriculture. This performance was a national finalist for Ovations Television Award for "Excellence in the Performing Arts." (2006)
Border Crossingis based on interviews with Mexican farm workers in partnership with the United Farm Workers and was the first step toward the creation of Common Ground. (2004)
Red Pony is based on John Steinbeck’s novel The Red Pony. A poignant and classic story set in the 1930’s on a farm in the Salinas Valley is a timeless tale about a child’s love of his pony and the feelings of loss that are an inevitable part of life experience. (2002)
Ocean, Bird, Skyis inspired by the poetry of Robinson Jeffers, this dance media work looks at the natural beauty of the Monterey coastline. (1998)
ABOUT THE FOUNDER Fran Spector Atkins is the Artistic Director and Founder of SpectorDance, located in Marina, CA. SpectorDance's mission is to provide excellence in dance training and performance, accomplished by offering a wide variety of activities that connect diverse artists and audiences, bridge disciplines through collaboration, and celebrate the power of art to inform and inspire. SpectorDance’s vision is to create socially relevant art, expand community, ignite creativity, and fuel the human spirit. To carry out its mission, SpectorDance has a School, Company, SpectorDance On-Site, the Choreographers Showcase, and the Sadie Rose Residency Program. The company's repertoire focuses on contemporary dance that integrates music, spoken word and visual technology, and focuses on socially relevant topics.
Collaboration with outstanding non-arts organizations is key to every Company project. Examples include Common Ground, a collaboration with the United Farm Workers, about California agriculture; East West, a collaboration with Rancho Cielo about gang violence; Ocean our first collaboration with Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) about the state of the world ocean based on filmed interviews with renown ocean scientists, and Ocean Trilogy, a continued dance-science partnership between SpectorDance and MBARI, highlighting hopeful possibilities for ocean health from cutting-edge ocean science research.. The company was selected by The Arts Council for Monterey County as the Outstanding Arts Organization in Monterey County in January 2007 and was a national finalist for the Ovations TV award for Excellence in the Performing Arts.
Spector Atkin’s professional credits include a B. S. in Occupational Therapy from Boston University, an M.F.A. from Mills College in Dance and Choreography, and Certification in Laban Movement Analysis from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in NYC. Spector Atkins is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Spector Atkins began her professional career in New York City, where she performed with the Incredible Journey Dance Company and the Mariko Sanjo Dance Company. Since 1977, she has been an independent teacher and choreographer and directed studios in NYC, Cleveland, and Monterey. She has been invited to teach, choreograph, and perform throughout the United States and abroad. Some of her outstanding experiences include guest teaching and presenting her choreography at Oberlin College, Brown University, at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, and in Denmark, Egypt, England, Israel, the Island of Guam, Taiwan, and Italy. In Fall 2018, SpectorDance Company will perform at the New Victory Theater in Santa Barbara, and In Spring 2019, at Stanford University in Palo Alto and at Sunset Center in Carmel.
CREATING new dance - SpectorDance Companycreates innovative performances that explore the most pressing issues of our time through a signature style of weaving together factual and aesthetic elements, that promotes dialogue and inspires action.
PRESENTING dance - TheChoreographers Showcasefeatures local & visiting dance makers to expand access and opportunities for choreographers, dancers, and audiences in our region and around the world through live and virtual performances.
ENGAGING our community - The SpectorDance On-Site program brings dance classes, workshops, and live performances to youth at diverse venues throughout Monterey County. - The Monterey Ocean Arts Festival provides Monterey County youth with opportunities for artistic expression and learning around issues of ocean health and science. Utilizing the power of art to inspire the next generation of ocean stewards. - SpectorDance recently established a partnership with Pacific Arts Complex (PAC) opening broader collaborative possibilities for our dancers in our community for theirDance Training. - We have opportunities for young dancers to create Outdoor Dances to bring to locations where we might contribute the joy of movement to various parts of our community. -Youth Company works that nurture the next generation of dancers with pieces based on literary themes and content around socially relevant, issue-driven productions where young dancers perform for young audiences.
Thanks to Jack Peterson at MCAETtv and his crew from Millennium Charter School for filming the SpectorDance performance of East West at Alisal High School.
Excerpt From East West "Transformation" Filmed & Produced by William Roden / New Dawn Studios
Excerpt From East West "Angry Mom" Filmed & Produced by William Roden / New Dawn Studios
Click the picture to watch a clip about East West & Spector Dance On Site at Rancho Cielo
Along with this 21-minute performance film, we offer filmed science-dance classes exploring the Ocean Trilogy themes with science content and creative movement exploration. Themes include: 1) Ocean Acidification 2) Plastic 3) Carbon, Food Web and Extinction of Species 4) Climate Change
Ocean Trilogy performance at the Monterey Bay Aquarium 2016 / Filmed By Kyra Schlining
2018 Ocean Trilogy
“Fran’s artistic perspective is perhaps just what is needed in these uncertain times. She uses our collective energy, imagination, technology, space, and the gifts of our humanity to create something new and meaningful. This visionary woman possesses the creativity to guide us toward all that we might be; where the strength of our art imbues our personal lives and our public identity. The Studio is striking with the twenty-two foot high ceilings and glows with natural sunlight. The only thing brighter is the light that shines from within the artistic director.” Susan Rosen, Monterey Herald
“I’ve personally been thrilled and inspired by SpectorDance performances and am a strong believer in the synergy between educational value, building physical skills, grace, beauty, good health, and the positive environment that Spector Atkins and her staff and volunteers provide for under-served communities.” Bruce Delgado, Mayor of Marina
“We were very impressed by SpectorDance’s professionalism, organization and follow-through. Lesson plans were thorough and creative, and it was a joy to see the students make connections between their own lives and those of the characters in the books when speaking about the themes. The performance was lovely, and we received positive feedback from the students, who were clearly better prepared to absorb and understand the performance. Simply put, SpectorDance is an exceptional organization that represents the best of artistic values executed efficiently and professionally.” Peter Lensik, former executive director of Sunset Center
Click the picture to watch a clip of East West & Spector Dance On Site
Click the picture to watch In Real Time, SpectorDance’s first Virtual Creative Project: