Andrea Olsen: “The floor is the foundation.”
It is our connection with the Earth. Our ability to yield and feel supported starts with our base, so we can move with resiliency—throughout our whole lives. Nancy and I had many conversations over the past years about the importance of a sprung floor for dancing in the emerging Workroom/Theater at 33 Hawley Street. Her emphatic words: “Let’s build a floor that’s good for dancing…”
--Former director of Dance Gallery, and current A.P.E. board member
Lisa Nelson: “The floor is about the future.”
It is what is needed to preserve the bodies of the dancers, working in a healthy environment. It is a different kind of investment; it is a commitment to supporting the art form. It is like giving a scholarship to hundreds of dance artists.
--Co-Editor of Contact Quarterly and independent dance artist
Christie Svane: “The floor is the environment, the other, the world.”
That little bit of give in a sprung dance floor that shares some of the impact of landing after a jump, is a message of care. “I don't want you to get injured.” A sprung floor, especially a silky maple one, whispers to you as you roll across it. Not sweet nothings, but sweet everythings. “Dance matters, you matter, what you feel matters. It awakens us, deepens us, lifts us. Keep going. I've got you.”
--Co-founder of Movement Research in NYC and creator of the Blue Guitar Dance Studio in Easthampton, MA
Laura Faure: “The issue is safety, longevity, and the wellbeing of artists.”
To be a responsible arts producer you have to provide safe conditions. Honoring the local history of movement practice in the Valley and keeping dance strong into the future requires a well designed sprung floor to support dance activity and avoid potential acute and/or career-ending injury. I can't think of a better way to honor Nancy Stark Smith than to help realize her long term desire to build a safe dance space with a sprung floor in Northampton.
--Former Director of the Bates Dance Festival
Kathy Couch: “Providing a sprung floor that is safe and caring of the body is a profound way to recognize the value that this kind of work has in society.”
There are so many immaterial and unarticulated aspects that allow things to emerge in a particular place. One of those” things” is space, affordable and accessible space for artists, without sacrificing their fiscal and physical wellbeing. That’s what we’re hoping to pass on through the Workroom/Theater at 33 Hawley.
--President of the Northampton Community Arts Trust
Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen: “The importance of a sprung floor is that it allows us to root and yield into the earth with rebound, delighting the senses and protecting the body.”This floor honors Nancy Stark Smith who has left us a process of inspiration that has longevity. It's a gift to the future, supporting those engaging dance movement and somatic practices, including the community dancer. The whole Workroom/Theater honors Gordon Thorne: it wouldn't be there without his ability to manifest a vision.
--Movement artist, researcher, educator, therapist and the developer of Body-Mind Centering®
H.B. Kronen: “A performance space is a place where the creative is shared and expanded through the trust and attention of an audience.” And the floor—not just any floor, but a floor designed and built to support creative exploration—is the literal platform which holds artist and audience together, forging community.”
Patrick Crowley: “This sprung floor is a buoyant home.”
Since the 1970’s, Nancy Stark Smith has created a home for dance in Northampton and Florence, Massachusetts with so many workshops, performances and other events. This floor represents a home for generations of dancers and artists to continue exploring and creating. How wonderful to support the Arts Trust, A.P.E., SCDT, and the Northampton Center for the Arts by donating to this sprung floor in Nancy’s name, where people from all over the world can remember Nancy when they dance!
--Dancer, Bodyworker, Coordinator of the Global Underscore
David Hurwith: “A sprung floor is a living thing.”
The response of wood encourages movement and embodiment itself - it moves with you. Maple flooring is the best: It is strong. That’s why they made bowling alleys from maple. If it gets scratched up, you can sand it. I sanded the floor at PS 122 each summer for many years. No floor did more work than that one. It spawned a generation of artists.
--Dancer and Maker
Cameron McKinney: “A sprung dance floor allows me to be fully creative, responsive, and comfortable in bringing my dance visions to life.”
As a dance artist whose entire career is tied to an extensive use of the floor, I can't emphasize enough the importance of a sprung dance floor. Remembering the incredible time my company had working in the studios at 33 Hawley, I know a safe floor will not only create an even more inviting atmosphere, but also continue to build Hawley Street’s legacy as a place that truly cares for its artists in every way.
--Artistic Director | Kizuna Dance
David Dorfman: “The only thing better than falling on a sprung floor is falling again on that sprung floor!”
As someone who once worked a sheet of foam core into a dance, having it fly down from the grid, in order to give some support to my aging body as I delighted in my repeated arial falls - it is essential to have a sprung floor!!!!!!!!! It’s actually kind of a political act to advocate for one, and it gives me such great pleasure to do so in Nancy’s name and memory - as it is something every dance citizen/student needs to have, but so often does not - it really is an unalienable right of dance. I so hope this floor becomes a reality in that equally essential dance haven that is Northampton and the Workroom/Theater at 33 Hawley St.
--Artistic Director | David Dorfman Dance; Professor & Former Chair/Connecticut College Department of Dance
Jen Polins: “There’s no other space in Northampton where dancers can perform.”
With the loss of STUDIO4 at 25 Main street in Northampton in 2020 and before that, A.P.E. at Thornes and the Center for the Arts at Sullivan Square, The Workroom / Theater at 33 Hawley Street is more important than ever. With a sprung dance floor, we will be able to continue to support and grow our thriving dance and somatics communities.
--Director of The School for Contemporary Dance & Thought
Scotty Hardwig: “A good floor brings buoyancy and levity into everything an artist does.”
Spaces tell a story. They hold our creative practices. That springing feeling under your feet lifts you up—it helps you make the work.
--Assistant Professor in Movement, Performance and Integrated Media at Virginia Tech
Angie Hauser: "The floor is your first partner"
I attribute this quote to Nancy (though I am not 100% sure she was the first to say it) because I have heard her talk about our important relationship with the floor so many times. We do not dance ON the floor, we dance WITH the floor. A sprung floor is the best partner and it is essential to happy feet, happy knees, and happy dancers for years and years.
--Principle Collaborator Bebe Miller Company & Chair Smith College Department of Dance
Jeffrey Bliss: “A good floor will gather us together, it will support us as we create and watch live performances, and it will last for generations. “
All of these working artists and arts administrators above have spoken with eloquence about the need for a sprung floor. Let's come together to honor Nancy Stark Smith, a movement artist who traveled the world to teach improvisational dance, always returning home to Northampton where she continued dancing year after year.
--Former performer with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, contact improvisation practitioner,
and Executive Director of the Northampton Community Arts Trust
ONLINE: NORTHAMPTON ARTS TRUST Designate: Floor Project
MAIL: Send a check made out to Northampton Community Arts Trust (NCAT)
PO Box 366, Northampton, MA 01060.
Designate: Floor Project
Please include your address and email so we can thank you and invite you in 2021!
Contributions are tax deductible. THANKS for stepping up for the future of dancing.
In collaboration with Available Potential Enterprises, The School for Contemporary Dance & Thought, the Northampton Community Arts Trust, Contact Quarterly, and the Build a Floor Tribute Team.