OGDEN -- Student dancers in the Weber State University Dance Company are hoping to kick-start their careers with an artistic project they hope to finance, in part, through the Kickstarter fundraising website.
As of Monday, the 14 students had raised 27 percent of the $4,000 they need through Kickstarter to complete funding for a three-day performing trip to a San Francisco theater known for nourishing emerging artists. The funds came from 26 backers who pledged funds through the fundraising website.
The catch: If the WSU dancers can't raise the full amount by Kickstarter's one-month deadline, the morning of March 14, all money will revert to the donors.
Amanda Sowerby, director of the WSU Dance Company, said the trip will give her students a taste of what it's like to be in a professional dance company, and to plan and produce a series of concerts for the public. Students have been planning the May 24-26 trip and concert series at Dance Mission Theater since the beginning of the school year.
"They are learning professional works, creating original choreography, fundraising, and are involved in every step of doing a professional presentation," Sowerby said.
The experience will not only educate students about how to produce such a show, but it will also afford them the opportunity to take a series of specialty dance workshops in the Bay area and give students a major achievement to list on their resumes, which will help them stand out to potential future employers, Sowerby said.
"Some of our seniors are wonderfully talented, and have asked how they can break into the professional dance world," she said. "Having this kind of experience on a resume, presenting their own work in a professional space and taking workshops and classes with master teachers, will make a big difference on their resumes.
"Some students also want to look into putting together their own nonprofits, and this is a learning experience for them," Sowerby said.
The entire trip will cost $10,000 to $12,000, and each student is responsible for raising $400 to $500. The group has sought out grants from Weber State and a variety of arts-related sources, and is well on its way to achieving its financial goals. The final $4,000 from online backers using Kickstarter would close the gap, Sowerby said.
Most of her students have experience performing at student-oriented festivals and at Salt Lake City venues, Sowerby said. Completing the San Francisco project and performing three days of concerts would take their education to a much higher level, she said.
"There's such a strong dance community there," Sowerby said of San Francisco, a city where she formerly worked as a professional dancer. "We want our students to take classes all over the city with fabulous teachers in modern dance, contemporary, jazz, and ethnic forms of dance, including samba, African, Brazilian. There's a breadth of different dance styles there that students won't have been exposed to here."
Before their trip to the Bay Area, the dancers will be performing in the American College Dance Festival, March 12-16. Your local chance to see the group perform will be at the Orchesis Spring Dance Concert on April 4-6 at the Browning Center, WSU, 3848 Harrison Blvd. Tickets are $12 through www.weberstatetickets.com.
And that Kickstarter deadline one more time: the early morning of March 14.