Betsi Graves is eager for Boston to embrace contemporary dance. As the director and founder of Urbanity Dance, the company which is hosting this weekend's Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, Graves says she believes in the Hub.
"I think that there is a lot of hope for Urbanity and also for other companies to follow up and build something great for Boston because this city’s really got it," she says. "I mean, so many students with great energy! So many wonderful, eager minds that want to move, they want to create and they want to dance."
Graves, a former employee of the Boston Ballet started Urbanity Dance out of a personal need to explore more modern and jazz choreography.
"Later I found that the Boston scene was really hungry for a new dance company that could really bridge the gap between commercial and concert dance," she says.
Contemporary choreographers seem to not be restricted by vocabulary, and they draw from an endless array of resources and stylistic influences. Graves and other contemporary choreographers and dancers find inspiration from the everyday movements of non-dancers by observing how people hold their bodies, how they walk, move and even by studying traffic patterns in places such as Copley Square and the T.
Graves says that dancers who are dedicated to the contemporary style have to be trained to perform pedestrian movements.
"A lot of times very human movements appear in contemporary dance," she says.
In addition to their backgrounds in jazz, ballet, modern, or hip-hop, the dancers at Urbanity undergo rigorous training routines to maintain their bodies and to keep articulating with their feet.
The festival is meant to introduce Boston to the exciting world of contemporary dance. Graves plans to continue her goal of exposing Boston to contemporary dance. She says she hopes Boston becomes a leader in contemporary dance with many more supported dance companies around and a variety of dance styles.
Boston Contemporary Dance Festival
Saturday, 2 p.m & 7:30 p.m
John Hancock Hall
180 Berkley St., Boston