The AnA Project is a performance art experience that integrates the techniques of visual art and dance art. When taking in a piece of fine art, the viewer only sees the finished product. They can experience it for as long as they wish to view it. When watching a dance performance, the audience sees the performance happening and unfolding right before their eyes. However, movement is transient; it exists in one moment and the audience is left with only a memory. The goal of the AnA Project is to combine the visual art and the dance art in such a way that the moving process of the artwork is revealed while the dance is given a measure of permanence. Artist Anthe Capitan-Valais and dancer Amy Margaret Unks, work together to blend these two separate art forms into one piece of performance art. Anthe captures the movement as she interprets it by drawing.
Technology as a medium has generally been considered more for use of graphic designers, rather than a means of expression in the fine arts. Utilizing digital media to create passionate works of art propels the artist into a wider realm of creative possibilities. For this reason alone, the AnA Project is valuable because it demonstrates to audiences a new way of delving into art, sparking their own creativity. The backdrop is an interactive part of the choreography, as opposed to a mere setting for the dance. The result is a blending of two classical art forms into dynamic works of art for the 21st century.
Anthe Capitan-Valais, the director of the project, is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA). She is an accomplished, award-winning artist working out of ACV Studio in Flourtown, PA. Her art is owned in both public and private collections and has also exhibited in the U.S., Canada and abroad. Since 2010, Anthe has been a guest in the dance department of Swarthmore College where she has had the opportunity to draw and paint from a variety of dance forms. Through an educational grant, she was invited to teach the concept of drawing from music and dance to students in a satellite program. By working at Swarthmore, Anthe was able to develop and test the concept of fusing art and dance though digital media which ultimately became the seed for the AnA Project.
Amy Margaret Unks is a freelance dancer in the Greater Philadelphia area. She holds a BA in Ballet, and has danced with Bristol Ballet, TN; Ballet Tennessee; Philadelphia Dance Theater; Poli Talu International Arts Center, Estonia; and the former Spiritoso Ballet. She currently continues her training at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet, and also with Eva Szabo and Jon Sherman. Using ballet technique as a foundation, she strives to push beyond the expected while connecting with the audience on an emotional level. Amy has been the inspiration and the muse for much of Anthe’s dance-based artwork to date.
The AnA Project cannot succeed solely on the energy and enthusiasm of one artist and one dancer. An extensive, behind-the-scenes network of resources is required and taking shape. Dance studio space has already been donated for rehearsals. A young established contemporary company has agreed to sponsor the AnA Project to perform along with them. A computer capable of supporting the digital artistic work has been partially subsidized. Training in the technical software is already being sought. With dancing comes music, and several options for music recording and editing are available and feasible. A ballet dancer typically goes through many pairs of pointe shoes rehearsing and performing even short pieces. The shoes that Amy wears out in rehearsals will be reborn into sculptures by Anthe. These original works of art will be sold in order to provide funding while giving the supporter a tangible connection to the project. Stay informed on when and where fundraisers will be held. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter. (There is a link on this page.)
Artists have an obligation to use their creative abilities to transform the everyday world into one that is inspiring and exciting to live in. In this sense, artists are also teachers. The AnA Project will be an ideal fit for a collegiate setting. Such facilities have the technical capabilities to fine tune the complex staging of the backdrop projections, as well as the pool of students in both technical and artistic studies who would be exposed to new avenues of creative thinking. From this collegiate setting, the goal is to then approach new audiences in new venues from many different cultural and socio-economic demographics. Some possibilities that have already presented themselves and are scheduled for the fall. We will be sharing the dance and teaching drawing from dance at Philadelphia Nursing Home. We will strive to take this project to museums, schools, community centers, and local theaters throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.