Roadside Attraction


Year: 2012-2013
DanceForce Member: Toni Smith
Artist: Third Rail Projects
Community Partners: Malta League of Arts; Menands Farmers Market; Prattsville Arts Center; Schenectady Greenmarket; Troy Frarmers Market
Audience: 3,200
Counties: Albany, Greene, Rensselaer; Saratoga, Schenectady

Third Rail Projects, known for their site specific choreography, created a self-contained one-hour work for family audiences that can be transported to public venues. The piece, “Roadside Attraction”, is a character work that is filled with humor and period reminiscences as six dancers spill out of a 1970s Coleman Camper, bringing to life vivid memories of the typical American summer vacation. The piece was performed at five venues – three farmer’s markets in the Capital Region, a drive-in movie theater in Saratoga County, and a town park in the Catskill Mountains. The goal of the project was to bring contemporary dance to the public, free of charge, in an unexpected context. The performances were listed in regional calendar listings and on listservs and websites of local arts organizations, dance organizations, but the most effective promotional item was a postcard passed out to audiences at the event that provided contact information for Third Rail Projects and listed funders for the project. The community was completely surprised at each venue with an engaging performance. The success of the Capital Region tour inspired other regions around the state to bring “Roadside Attraction”. Booking one company in five different venues in three days required that the local volunteer DanceForce partner identify the unique challenges and capabilities of each location. Most of the audiences had never seen contemporary dance and were completely captivated. Here is a quote from a sponsor from Hunter Mountain that had been devastated by Hurricane Irene, and had not presented dance in two years:

I just want to thank you again for your fabulous performance Sunday in Prattsville. I have had so many hugs from residents who loved the show, I’m still recovering.Your choreography, music and narrative are all wonderfully inventive, bringing new life to the items that grace so many rural yards. Many residents of Prattsville had never seen a dance performance first hand, but viewers of all ages were completely engaged in the show from beginning to end. I especially loved the kids who climbed up the jungle gym to watch the show. If you ever want to feel like what you are doing makes a difference in the world – this would be the time! Please thank your wonderful performers again for us! Let us know if you would like to include us in future tours or if there are grants we could work on together. Very best, Nancy Barton, Prattsville Art Center