A Guide to Dance in the Motor City

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As Detroit’s art scene continues to unfold, one longtime dance lover wondered whether her art could use a boost. “I looked around Midtown, which is burgeoning, but there was nothing — no central location for the dance scene,” says Harriet Berg, a choreographer who was instrumental in bringing modern dance to Detroit in the 1950s. With her recent publication of The Body Electric, Berg hopes people will finally get a sense of what’s happening in dance in the Motor City.

The 40-page booklet, available for free across metro Detroit, is a comprehensive guide to the city’s dance companies, studios, and venues. It also includes articles on Detroit’s dance history and the art form’s major local players. Julie Gervais, a local dance instructor and promoter, has published a digital version of the guide on her website dancepanorama.com. Gervais, who has been involved in Detroit’s dance scene for years, says working on The Body Electric opened even her eyes to dance companies she didn’t know existed. “This [project] revealed the diversity of what’s going on,” Gervais says. “National-level work gets plenty of attention, but there’s an incredible richness of work at the local level, and that’s what [we’re] trying to highlight.”

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