Loose Leaves, Charlotte’s biannual dance showcase for North Carolina choreographers, is one of my top five favorite performance events in Charlotte. Produced by local dancer/choreographer Salena Mable Stamp, it’s anything but your ordinary dance showcase, and that’s what makes it great.
When Stamp moved to Charlotte in 2013, Loose Leaves didn’t exist. “[I] quickly realized that it was difficult for new choreographers (either new to town or new to choreographing) to find venues to present their work,” Stamp said.
Stamp is not one to shy away from a challenge. In October 2015, she set out to make space in the dance community for choreographers to share their work without the intimidating process of producing a full-length show. Stamp sticks to a simple application process and minimal fee to make sure that Loose Leaves is a place for everyone, not just the well-established and well-funded.
This openness is part of what makes Loose Leaves a must-see. By the second round last spring, Loose Leaves attracted a standing-room-only crowd of people from diverse ages and backgrounds with artists from around North Carolina. Now in its fourth installment, Loose Leaves features work from 12 choreographers and has moved from Cube NoDa to Duke Energy Theatre to accommodate audience size.
At Loose Leaves, it’s not unusual to see afro-russe and tap beside ballet, modern and jazz. Movement that is silly and light juxtaposed against the dark and profound and everything in between. This diversity is exactly why Stamp’s efforts to give Charlotte a different kind of dance festival are flourishing. Audiences continue to grow and so does our love for this kind of living, breathing example of the thriving arts community in the Queen City.
“There is a vibrance that happens in the art community when there are regular opportunities to present new work,” Stamp said. “Choreographers take risks and try new things, they get more experience with their choreography and they get to inspire one another with their ideas.”
See performances of Loose Leaves March 12 and 13 at 8 p.m. at Duke Energy Theatre in Spirit Square. Tickets are $12 and are available online at blumenthalarts.org.
Photos: Dick Costa