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Imagine strolling the beach, when suddenly a nimble-footed troupe starts dancing on the sand.
Such flights of fancy are reality at the Sarus Performing Arts Festival, which stages dance on the beach, downtown, at museums and other creative venues in the greater Wilmington area when the audience may least expect it.
Site-specific performances take place in non-traditional and unusual locations, turning architecture and nature into playgrounds for artistic expression and community meetings.
The goal of the performances is to enrich, confront and surprise the public by mixing choreographed scenes with spontaneity and idiosyncrasies of the environment.
Alban Elved Dance Company will present the second annual Sarus Performing Arts Festival on Aug. 4-17 in the greater Wilmington area.
Most events are free to the public. Other festival highlights include dance films and classes, for which there are fees ranging from $3-$10.
This year’s performing companies offer a wide variety of artistic voices combining fierce physicality with meditative and sculptural movement in architectural or natural settings. Some will interact with audiences, while others encourage audiences to walk among performers or be a part of the event.
More than 20 performing companies from Germany, Switzerland, New York City, Illinois, Virginia and North Carolina will participate.
Highlights include pop-up performances throughout Wilmington on Aug. 4; “Wilmington Unplugged” 7 p.m. to midnight Aug. 5 at Water Street Restaurant, 5 S. Water St. in Wilmington; a festival opening celebration and fundraiser at 6:15 p.m. Aug. 6 at Bottega Art and Wine, 208 N. Front St. in downtown Wilmington, and carousel performances on and around the carousel at Independence Mall 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 7 and 8.
Beach performances are slated for 5-6:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at Carolina Beach and 7-9 a.m., 3:30-5:30 p.m. and 6-7 p.m. on the pier Aug. 9 (rain date Aug. 16) at Wrightsville Beach.
Other highlights include Theatre Showcase “Trucks at the Barn” 8-9:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at Red Barn Studio, 1122 S. Third St., Wilmington (admission $15); luncheon and performances noon to 1 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Burgaw Train Depot and River Front Park performances 5:30-6:30 p.m. Aug. 8 in downtown Wilmington.
For a complete schedule and more information, call (910) 338-1157 or log onto www.sarusfestival.com.