On June 22 at Riverside Arts Center, I had the pleasure of attending the first show presented by Fun Girl, a new Ypsilanti-based contemporary dance company created and run by Artistic Director Chloe Gray. The company offers paid rehearsals and performances to their dancers, as well as apprenticeships, and acts as a platform for technically based dancers to explore quirky movement while applying thoughtful activism.
Artistic Director Chloe Gray’s credentials are extensive, with her training beginning at the age of 6 with the Toledo Ballet and continuing at the Toledo School for the Arts throughout her high school years. She graduated from Eastern Michigan University where she double majored in Dance Performance and Women’s and Gender Studies, and her choreography and dancing have been featured in performance opportunities through Kristi Faulkner Dance (Detroit), ARTLAB J Dance (Detroit), Koresh Dance Company (Philadelphia), and Side Street Art Studio (Chicago).
“I always thought that I was going to wait until I was older to start my own company,” says Gray. “My plan was to graduate from college, move to a big city to dance, and then eventually come back to Ypsi to plant some roots. Through careful consideration and after falling in love with a Michigander, I decided to stay in Ypsi and go for it. We have to create in places and spaces where the art we want to see does not exist. If we all take off to big cities, how will art exist in our community?”
The show, entitled Girlfriend, featured four original pieces choreographed by Gray and performed by Fun Girl, as well as four pieces that were chosen through the Ypsi Dance Swap organized by Gray in January, in which choreographers from across the state could submit their work to be performed in a show at Riverside Arts Center. Several of the choreographer’s pieces would then be chosen by a jury to be presented at Fun Girl’s Girlfriend recital in June.