After a cramped year spent dancing mostly apart from one another, the dancers at Troy Dance Factory are ready to go full out this weekend.
The dance studio had to cancel its showcase last year because of COVID-19 and this year, owner Nadine Medina, decided to expand the event, weaving in performances by local musicians and inviting local artists, activists and food vendors into the mix as well.
Called Full Out Fest, it’s slated to run from 5-9 p.m. on Sunday at Troy’s Riverfront Park amphitheater, not too far away from the dance studio.
“The term full out is a term we use in the studio constantly. We use it more and more as we near a show because to do something full out means to do it with all of your energy,” Medina said.
It’s been a tough year or so for Troy Dance Factory, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Because of the pandemic, classes were mainly virtual until April of this year. Even when dancers were able to meet in person, they had to manage changing mask and social distancing guidelines, which impacted their choreography.
“Normally, we’re in the studio from September to June and what we normally do is [in] September, October, November, we work on skills. Then, from December to June, we’re working on our pieces for the show. We had a really compressed timeline to do that this year,” Medina said.
“It’s been very difficult with all the changes for COVID and all the accommodations we had to make for how long we were virtual, just for the dancers to learn these pieces in time. So that’s been a huge challenge. They’re handling it well and they’re all holding extra rehearsals on their own, which has been awesome. But that’s been a lot for them,” Medina said.
The showcase will give them a chance to finally perform what they’ve been working on for so long. It’s also a chance for musicians and artists to get back out there as well.
“I wanted to give [local musicians] an opportunity to also come, sell their merch and meet and greet the community again after a year-plus of lost gigs,” Medina said.
From 6-7:30 p.m. a mix of hip hop, tap, jazz-funk, lyrical, and contemporary dance performances, will be interspersed with performances by several local musicians. The line-up includes katanamamas, Promise The Unbreakable, Caity Gallagher and Hannah Amigo. DJ Intell Hayesfield will emcee the evening.
Beyond performances, there will be a record shop-like tent featuring other local musicians, both established and new, including Candy Ambulance, NXNES, Ohzhe, The Sea The Sea, Camtron 5000 and Zan and the Winter Folk.
“We’ll have their music playing on a Spotify playlist there so people can get familiar with a lot of the local musicians that they might not otherwise know about,” Medina said.
There will also be artists and designers like Lyf Supply, Champion Spirit, Art Money and more.
When it comes to food, La Capital Tacos will be on-site, along with Rare Form Brewery, Alias Coffee, Primo Botanica, Beverwyck Cheesecake Co. and Cafe Euphoria. Community organizations Troy YWCA, Free Food Fridge, Soul Fire Farm and Capital Roots, will be on-site as well.
“A big part of the festival is making sure that this event is a platform and an opportunity for people of color and [people] in the LGBT+ community as well. A lot of our vendors and musicians do represent communities who have been marginalized in the past, who I wanted to make sure were explicitly invited to participate,” Medina said.
Many of the artists, musicians and food vendors, have never participated in an event like Full Out Fest before. To remove any barriers to entry, organizers, sought to help any vendor who needed assistance with everything from marketing to financial resources.
“It’s part of the commitment I wanted to make to our vendors to make sure that everyone felt like this was an accessible opportunity for them,” Medina said. “It’s trying to help from A to Z to make this event not just a one-shot deal for vendors but helping them maybe grow their reach.”
Full Out Fest is taking what was once a singular event, the Troy Dance Factory showcase, and expanding it into the community, bringing together artists and activists from a variety of backgrounds working in different mediums and genres.
“In our first years performing our showcase, it really felt like a community. This feels like an awesome way to come full circle for our 10th year… where people can feel like they’re really part of this intimate show,” Medina said.
The event is sponsored by Chet Opalka, CapCom and Cait Madden among others, though organizers are still seeking sponsors. General admission to Full Out Fest is free, though a sliding scale donation is suggested. Tickets are available at troydancefactory.com.
In case of inclement weather, Full Out Fest will be held on August 29.