At a recent rehearsal for DanceFX and Entropy Arts’ dance performance-party event, Halloween at the Farm, DanceFX faculty member and choreographer Chelsea Ray led her dancers through a piece called “The Ultimate Sacrifice.” Dancers shifted immediately from their casual rehearsal stance into a dance that evoked a distant time and space, transforming the little studio into a vessel for something spine-chilling and darkly spiritual. Inspired by voodoo, the piece combined hip-hop choreography with motions that recalled a sacrifice to the gods of the Underworld. Fluorescent bulbs and daylight could not dispel the chill in the air.
This piece, and the others that constitute Halloween at the Farm, are the work of DanceFX Executive Director Jenny Broe and Entropy Arts founder (and organizer of the arts event Jail Break) Andrew Walker. The two have collaborated since 2012, beginning with the show
Ebb and Flow. For that first co-production, Walker and Entropy Ensemble composed some music for the DanceFX company Charleston Dance Project, which the ensemble played live during the dance performance. Other collaborative performances include last year’s Naughty New Year and Mannequin.
Walker is directing and producing Halloween at the Farm, which he hopes will become an annual event. His and Broe’s intention is to spice up the generic Halloween dance party by adding in choreographed performances honoring the mysterious, the freaky, the creepy, the sexy underworld. “Walking into the Music Farm this Halloween will literally feel like you are transported to an age where freak shows and circuses reigned,” Walker says. “[It’s] a place that is unknown, thrilling, where anything can happen.”
Broe and 10 faculty members of DanceFX have choreographed 16 dance pieces, telling stories in settings that range from vaudeville to carnival, from freak show to voodoo. “One of the scenes involves a group of mysterious but irresistible gypsies that travel the world telling the fortunes of poor, lost souls,” Broe says. “This particular reading gets very heated and goes awry as the gypsies reveal that, in fact, they’re vampires.”
Although the pieces are, of course, designed to be watched and enjoyed, there’s no such thing as a mere spectator at this event. “When the freaks aren’t on the stage performing, they will be intermixed amongst the audience during the dance party while DJs United and Moo Moo rock the farm,” Walker says. To cap off the night, there’s a costume contest at midnight — it’s judged by a panel of crazy clowns, so keep that in mind when putting together your ensemble — with the creepiest costume winning $500.