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Sanctuary for Dance: Grounds for Sculpture

If a visit to the expansive, park-like Grounds for


in Hamilton makes you want to spread your wings and dance, you can

watch professionals do just that this weekend. On Sunday, June 27,

at 3 p.m., Hunterdon County’s Terpsichore SAND dance foundation


an hour-long concert of dances integrated with the park sculptures,

featuring five dance companies, soloists, and live music and vocal


The concert takes place in the 22-acre landscaped sculpture park on

the former state fairgrounds site, that is also home to a


10,000 square foot museum, and renovated Domestic Arts gallery


Produced by Terpsichore SAND’s founding director Tommy Flagg, the

program opens with a ceremonial visit from the muse herself, portrayed

by Suzanne Goldman, formerly of American Repertory Ballet, accompanied

by nymphs of the Princeton Ballet School. Featured dancers and


include Makiko Oka, a dancer and choreographer born in Japan and


in a family of classical Kabuki musicians. She has studied traditional

Japanese dance and contemporary Butoh, graduating with a master’s

degree from NYU in 1997.

Also featured are the Errol Grimes Dance Group of New York; Middle

Eastern dancers Ayshe and Nadia and musicians Ismail Butera and


Hess; the American Jazz Dance Ensemble; and the New York-based


Dance Legacy, an Isadora Duncan-inspired company directed by Therese

Anne Joseph.

"One of our goals here is to integrate other arts disciplines

into the park and into our programing," says Grounds for Sculpture

director Brooke Barrie. "We have had music integrated with all

our openings, but this will mark the first time we’ve integrated dance

with the sculpture." Among the choreographers creating works

specifically for the setting is Errol Grimes, who will present

"Parade" for four dancers and a steel-pan drum musician. The

Duncan troupe has created the work "Sirens," on and around one

of the park’s large installation sculptures, "The Nine Muses,"

by Carlos

Dorrien. The large gray granite pieces, set on its own floor, will

serve as the setting for the dance that culminates the hour-long


Founded six years ago by Tommy Flagg, Terpsichore SAND is based on

150 acres, one mile from the Delaware River, near Frenchtown, designed

as a perpetual sanctuary for art, nature, and dance. Terpsichore


terp-si-kor-ee) was the Greek mythological muse of dance and choral

song, and SAND is an acronym for "Sanctuary of Art, Nature, and

Dance." It launched its first, four-performance subscription


in 1998.

Under Flagg’s leadership, Terpsichore SAND, which has in its


plan housing for retired dancers, is active throughout the region

as agent and manager for a dozen dance artists and companies. He


produces 50 shows a year, the majority in off-site locations that

include New York’s Joyce Theater, Kingwood School, Bucks County


College, the Hunterdon Art Museum, and the Trenton Avant-Garde


Interdisciplinary outreach is constantly evolving at Grounds for


In February, the organization celebrated its fifth anniversary with

a Valentine’s Day dinner, featuring music by the Beau Soir Ensemble,

a Connecticut-based trio, led by Tamar Witkin (daughter of sculptor

Isaac Witkin), and a reading of romantic poetry by Princeton actors

Mary Greenberg and Michael Walker. Founder, sculptor, and


J. Seward Johnson Jr. was among those in attendance who were well

pleased with the arts friendly evening.

Drama is next on the list of guest arts. On Saturday, October 30,

in the spirit of the Halloween weekend, the park will host a Mystery

Dinner produced by Ruth Markoe and R&R Productions.

Terpsichore SAND in Concert, Grounds for Sculpture,

18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, 609-586-0616. The 3 p.m., one-hour

concert performance is free and open to the public. Also offered is

a 5 p.m. performance followed by cocktails and dinner, $50;


required by June 23. Sunday, June 27, 3 p.m.

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