Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dancing on the edge of a dollar

If I pay $150 for a ticket, and Paul McCartney sings for two and a half hours, is that event "worth" a dollar per minute? How would we calculate its value, exactly? Can one measure the arts that way at all?

If so, Dance Charlotte! may be the best artistic bargain in town this winter. These modern dance concerts break down to $1.67 per act (or, if you get the better seats at Booth Playhouse, $2.22). That's right: Nine acts will perform for $15 or $20 Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. (Get the lowdown

I always like this kind of tapas-table entertainment. If two or three artists speak powerfully to me, I've justified my attendance. If I don't warm up to someone, I wait 10 or 15 minutes and try a fresh approach from somebody else. None of these groups has been overexposed locally: Caroline Calouche & Co. and Echo Contemporary are headquartered here, but the others come from as far away as Baltimore and New York.

These concerts are the tip of a weekend-long iceberg that includes master classes all day Saturday and a Booth performance at 5:30 p.m. Saturday by CEDA, Charlotte's Emerging Dance Artists. (That gig by young performers is even cheaper -- $10 and $15 -- and is also a series of short pieces.)

Dancers take the most physical punishment, work against the longest odds and have the shortest-burning candles of any performing artists. To see so many of them trailblazing away in the same spot is an opportunity you might not want to pass up. I'm guessing it's worth the investment.