The Invisible City Project | 2013-2015

… our city unearthed and embodied, one performance and conversation at a time … because a compelling world exists just beneath the surface.

The Invisible City Project was conceived in 2013 as a program of Scapegoat Garden in order to support the increased visibility of Greater Hartford dance. Manifesting primarily as a website/blog and programming at The Garden Center for Contemporary Dance, the project sought to connect local artists to each other, audiences, extended networks beyond our borders, essential information and resources, while fostering a meaningful sense of place. Acknowledging that existing models have been insufficient in catalyzing a thriving contemporary dance ecology thus far, The Invisible City Project actively sought organizational and administrative approaches that were responsive to, and adaptive within current conditions.

The posts that follow are intended to serve as an archive of The Invisible City Project website. While much of the archived content has not been updated, the hope is that it will continue to serve as a valuable point of reference for future efforts to cooperate, aggregate informations, and advocate for sustainable local dance ecologies.


The Chick Austin Years: a Window into Hartford’s Cultural Legacy and Potentiality

Through what mechanism is the cultural landscape of a place understood? What assurances or warnings about its capacity for forward movement have already been issued for those who would listen? How can these insights be of value to those who would later inherit the place?  During the years 1927-1944, Arthur Everett Austin, Jr. stood at the cultural center of a small, conservative city, and called the winds of change to blow through it. As director of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut during this period, he served as a nexus point, bringing artists and thinkers from around… read more

Hartford’s Edgy Arts?

On the evening of Monday, February 10th [2014], I attended the Hartford Courant & Fox CT Key Issues Forum entitled, Hartford’s Edgy Arts.  The event was co-sponsored by Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE), an initiative of MetroHartford Alliance and was held at the Mark Twain House & Museum.  The forum assembled a panel of six Hartford artists (visual artist Anne Cubberly, Maxwell Williams Associate Artistic Director of Hartford Stage, Cynthia Bulaong of Open Studio Hartford, Khaiim the RapOet and Julia Pistell of SeaTea Improv) and was moderated by the always effervescent Chion Wolf.   I must admit that I entered the situation with a… read more

Co-operative

[ This page is intended to serve as an archive for The Invisible City Project website. While this information is not up to date, it is my hope that its contents continue to provide a point of entry.] The Invisible City Project Co-operative provides a framework for administering the existing Invisible City Project, by putting its programming directly into the hands of the community for which it was created in the first place.  Under the leadership of Arien Wilkerson and Rebecca Puretz as facilitators, we seek to provide opportunities to trade labor and community outreach efforts for rehearsal space, creative programming and performance opportunities. By… read more

In the RAW: an Alternative for Hartford

I. Prologue “The past is prologue.” True, but one cannot linger all one’s life over the introduction any more than one can linger too much over the art of the past. …  Such nostalgia only conceals a lack of sympathy with, a lack of knowledge of, or worse, panic over the now.  Art must always struggle to build onto the past, to break it down if necessary, to free itself from convention and rule as to create newly, vigorously, venturesomely with imagination and individuality. (Wagstaff 2-3) ~Sam Wagstaff When engaging my teenaged dance students in movement improvisation, I often encourage… read more

In Support of Dance: looking back at DSN

On July 12, 2011, I had the honor of engaging in a conversation with two pillars of Hartford’s dance community, Judy Dworin and Kathy Borteck Gersten ((Artistic/Executive Director and Associate Artistic Director of the Judy Dworin Performance Project respectively).  On this occasion both women chatted with me about Dance Services Network (DSN), an organization founded in 1980 to support and advocate for dance in Greater Hartford.   As a teenager, I was fortunate to have an incredibly generous high school teacher who brought me to seemingly every dance event in Hartford.  In retrospect, I now know that many of these events were organized by DSN.  It was in this context that I had… read more

Invitations, Fresh Starts, and Promises Fulfilled …

The Invisible City Project is officially underway now that the website is up and running.  The site is intended to be a virtual commons for the dance community, for those who want to access that dance community, and for those who may be surprised to learn there is a community at all.  The information on the site is already plentiful, given its short life thus far, but it is intended to whet our collective appetites so we can refine and expand the site together. For a guided tour of sorts, the following links will take you to two specific pages that: invite you… read more

why and how? because there’s always a story…

[…] here at the start, it seems appropriate to offer some context around why this website and project came to be.  Consider this a somewhat condensed chronicle of the past three years, the focus of which is why this website exists and how it came to be.  With that said, the timeline goes as follows… [This page is intended to serve as an archive for The Invisible City Project website. While this information is not up to date, it is my hope that its contents continue to provide a point of entry.] AUGUST 2010 On August 25, 2010, Charter Oak Cultural Center called a meeting to… read more

Shared Resources: College Dance Programs in Connecticut

[What follows is] a growing list of statewide college and university programs which offer a dance major or concentration to matriculating students in Connecticut.  [This page is intended to serve as an archive for The Invisible City Project website. While this information is not up to date, it is my hope that its contents continue to provide a point of entry.] Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) CCSU | Dept. of Physical Education and Human Performance | Dept. of Theatre | 1615 Stanley Street  | New Britain, CT  | 06050 Catherine J. Fellows, Dance Program Director/Adviser The Central Connecticut State University Dance Program offers a formal pathway to dance certification (B.S.… read more

home: a place between

Tourists seek out new places.  In a new setting they are forced to see and think without the support of a whole world of known sights, sounds and smells—largely unacknowledged—that give weight to being …” ~Ti Fu Tuan, Space and Place During the summers of 2007 and 2008, I spent a total of 3 months on the island of Santiago in the Republic of Cape Verde, an archipelago 350 miles off the west coast of Africa.  I was there initially to collaborate with a team of teaching artists from both the United States and Cape Verde, and charged with the… read more

place is personal

The Invisible City Project Curatorial Statement Deborah Goffe, Curator I. Point of Reference All that confidence in continuous traditions and innocent encounters with pristine cultures has been shattered in our post-colonial epoch.  Borders bleed, as much as they contain.  Instead of dividing lines to be patrolled or transgressed, boundaries are now understood as crisscrossing sites inside the post-modern subject.  Difference is resituated within, instead of beyond, the self.  Inside and outside distinctions, like genres, blur and wobble (Conquergood 184). “ If place is home, and home is where the body is, then can we conclude that place is located or… read more

Shared Resources: Nonprofit Youth and Community Dance Programs

[What follows is] a growing list of Greater Hartford area organizations who provide opportunities for Greater Hartford youth the opportunity to engage deeply in the art of dance as students, performers and/or dance makers.  [This page is intended to serve as an archive for The Invisible City Project website. While this information is not up to date, it is my hope that its contents continue to provide a point of entry.] The Artists Collective Dolly McLean, Founding Executive Director Where the World of Art is Making a Difference for the Children of Greater Hartford …  The Artists Collective was founded in 1970 by world… read more

Shared Resources: Hartford’s Dance of Place and Tradition

[What follows is] a growing list of Greater Hartford area artists and organizations whose missions give priority to the preservation and dissemination of  dance forms rooted to a particular geography.  It is important to note that languaging this important part of our dance community is not without challenge because there are many individuals and groups among us who find consistent inspiration in a specific geographic or diasporic cultural tradition.  It seems others face the same challenge. [This page is intended to serve as an archive for The Invisible City Project website. While this list is not up to date, it is my hope that its contents… read more

cooperation in motion

HOMEGROWN DANCE | AUGUST 2011 A multi-company site specific collaboration in the Gardens at Billings Forge Community Works. participating dance companies: Dance Connect DancEnlight Judy Dworin Performance Project Scapegoat Garden Spectrum in Motion Footage captured by the young Sam Carlson and another generous onlooker; edited by Deborah Goffe read more

coming together to celebrate art and place

HOMEGROWN DANCE | MAY 2011 A multi-company collaboration celebrating Charter Oak Cultural Center, Rabbi Donna Berman’s ten years as the organization’s Executive Director, Charter Oak’s leadership in presenting the work of area dance makers, and its role in initiating the Homegrown Dance initiative. participating dance companies: Dance Connect DancEnlight Judy Dworin Performance Ensemble Scapegoat Garden Spectrum in Motion     read more

Ways to Engage

[ This page is intended to serve as an archive for The Invisible City Project website. While this information is not up to date, it is my hope that its contents continue to provide a point of entry.] WITH SUCH AN ABUNDANCE OF SEEMINGLY BURIED  CULTURAL TREASURE ALL AROUND US, WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US IN UNEARTHING IT … The Invisible City Project provides an opportunity for us all to uncover, highlight, honor, contextualize and nurture our city and our dance community.  It is intended to forge connections between the dance community, the larger community of Greater Hartford, and the larger community of dance beyond our borders. The Invisible City… read more