A look into Exhibit Sway – A Q&A with founder, Stayce Camparo

Exhibit Sway delivers fresh contemporary dance in an intimate gallery setting.  By breaking down formal boundaries between the artist and the art lover, Exhibit Sway offers evocative collaborations as it cultivates a creative and holistic art community. – Exhibit Sway’s Homepage

Exhibit Sway founder and dancer, Stayce Camparo

Despite a dancer’s full time job (yes, it really is a full time job) we still add to the list.  Why does a dancer do this?  Who really knows . . . Perhaps for intellectual stimulation, a balanced purpose, a heightened sense of the world, a look into the future, an extra challenge, an exploration of oneself, or just for simple excitement.  We are more than just ballet dancers in a studio.  We are people too.

Recently, dancehealthier, conducted a Q&A with Kansas City Ballet’s dancer, Stayce Camparo.  In late summer, 2011, Stayce ventured out and started Exhibit Sway.  Hope you enjoy it on this Sunday afternoon.

dancehealthier:  What ignited you to start up and take on the duties of Exhibit Sway? Was this something you have always thought about doing, or was it one single happening that ignited your fire?

Stayce:  I started Exhibit Sway at the end of the summer 2011.  Looking ahead and starting to contemplate what I want to do when my ballet career is over, I thought about running a dance project that promotes exploration in the choreographic process.  I wanted to give dancers more opportunities to choreograph and show their work to the public.  I started to think about the venues that would promote creativity and the Crossroads Arts District and its wonderful gallery scene came to mind.  That led me to develop the idea of collaborating with local artists on concepts and showing the concept side-by-side in different artistic mediums.  I thought this idea would engage the public and get them to think about art in a different way.  Running a project like this is something I have always wanted to do, but didn’t know exactly what it would be or how to go about doing it.

Exhibit Sway dancer, Catherine Russell

dancehealthier:  What is Exhibit Sway’s mission and do you see this mission growing with time?

Stayce:  The mission of Exhibit Sway is one I believe in passionately and I decided to go for it this year and see if it was really manageable for me.  Exhibit Sway exists to promote dance in the Kansas City community.  It offers opportunities for dancers to push themselves in creative ways to compose choreography, getting away from the status quo.  Exhibit Sway creates dialogue between artists in the community so that they can share their art form with each other and be inspired by different thoughts of representation. And finally, Exhibit Sway engages the public in gallery showings by creating intimate and informal performances that illicit analysis and thought. I am not sure about Exhibit Sway’s future as it is a very new project, but I hope the Kansas City public will see the value it has for the promotion of Art and allow themselves to be included in its process.

dancehealthier:  Do you feel that Exhibit Sway helps you as a dancer?  In other words, do you feel that having another focus besides just being a “ballet dancer” is beneficial to being a dancer?

Stayce:  I believe whole-heartily that engaging in a life outside ballet is beneficial to an artist’s work. As a ballet dancer in a ballet company, we are used as tools that mold our bodies according to a style or by the choreographer’s image.  This is all a part of the job, but I think it is important for a dancer to be able to bring something to the table as well, and engaging in a creative process that promotes exploration will allow a dancer to develop an artistry.  The difference is small, but its the difference between watching a pretty dancer and actually being moved.

danceheathier:  Starting up a non-profit – leading it – and making it work must be a difficult/scary yet rewarding task?  Since the beginning what have you learned most from this process?

Exhibit Sway founder and dancer, Stayce Camparo

Stayce:  Starting a non-profit is definitely an undertaking.  What is probably the most challenging aspect is getting people to believe in your passion enough to fund it.  Nothing is free, and just like any organization, Exhibit Sway needs money to put on these creative shows and provide the opportunities for the dancers to choreograph.  Finding time to fundraise is very difficult because it is basically a full time job.  I love the project and its cause, though and I think that reads to the community and keeps me going.

dancehealthier:  What are you excited about?  Maybe upcoming shows, rehearsals or good feedback?

Stayce:  I am very excited about the show coming up June 1st.  Exhibit Sway is collaborating with local photographer, Elijah Gowin, who is an associate professor at UMKC.  We have already begun talks on the concept we will be presenting and the dancers will take part in a rigorous 3-week workshop leading up to the show where they will come up with the movement based on the concept we are inspired by.  The June 1st show is a first Friday show at Charlotte Street Foundation’s La Esquina gallery. 

* To check out more about Exhibit Sway click HERE.  Also be sure to contact Stayce for questions, donations and more information @ STAYCE@EXHIBITSWAY.ORG.

2 thoughts on “A look into Exhibit Sway – A Q&A with founder, Stayce Camparo

  1. Really cool post, Jill. It’s so exciting to hear and see what dancers are doing in their own communities to evolve the art—and the community as well in the process. Love this! Congrats to Stacey.

  2. Thank you, Jen. I hope to do some more like these. She is doing a really cool thing – hard thing – so it makes it easy for me. It’s cool that KC has lots to grow with.

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