In a traditionally territorial art, Starr Foster has managed to pull together choreographers for the third year in a row. 

Collaborating Choreographers

For the third year, the Starr Foster Dance Project is presenting its Annual Choreographers Showcase, continuing its mission of producing emerging and established choreographers within one program. From the start, artistic director Starr Foster recognized the difficulty in pulling a show together. Some choreographers either don't have enough work for a full program or lack the funding.

Richmond newcomer Jill Bremmer is one such dancer benefiting from the showcase. An M.F.A. graduate from George Mason University, she married this past summer and moved from Northern Virginia with full intentions of continuing her dance career. So far, she likes the size of Richmond. She's been doing artist residences at Randolph-Macon College, St. Catherine's School and Sweet Briar College, and enjoys her "free-lance life" as she gets to know the local dance scene better.

Finding out about Foster was a welcome discovery. "All I heard was positive things about her," she says without hesitation, "that she's sweet and good to work with. She's rare, too, because of her willingness to include the work of other dancers. Many dancers can be territorial."

Bremmer will present "Elixir," a trio inspired by the minimalist sculpture of Eva Hesse. While an undergraduate at SUNY Purchase, she encountered the late artist's work in a book, immediately seeing that the shapes call out for dance. "Her work invites you to move around them, over them, through them," she explains. "Elixir," which uses an 8-by-8-foot platform, is "loosely based on her work ... very loosely."

Three women get trapped on the platform and respond differently to their confinement. One gets angry, another tries to manipulate the object, and a third spends time anguishing. For Bremmer, the platform provides rich metaphorical content. "It's a bed, a frying pan, a cliff, a wall. Or struggling with a thought like 'You can't be any better than what you are.'"

Bremmer is one of 12 choreographers presenting short works. Others include William and Mary dance professor James Hansen, who presented work last year, returning for a solo that examines the alienating effects of technology. William Sterling of the Starr Foster Dance Project and the Latin Ballet of Virginia will perform a solo, "Purge." Expect also Katie Harris with Chimene Freeman, Kellie Larson, Leslie Kraus, Matthew Rogers, Thandi Woodward, Betzi Heckman and Rachael Shaw, as well as a quintet by Foster herself.

What does Foster get from bringing all these dancers together? When we spoke by phone, she mentioned she was up at 4 a.m. the morning before organizing. She admitted, "I do it because I'm crazy." Beyond that is a choreographer committed to her craft — be it her own creation or that of others — who receives great satisfaction from the process. Stay tuned for "Alice" coming in a few weeks.

Third Annual Choreographers Showcase takes place at Artspace, 6 E. Broad St., Feb. 8-9. Tickets cost $5, call 343-3612. www.sfdproject.org


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