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Fort Wayne Dance Collective Presents Work of Individual and Collective Expression

With the annual performance of its touring company, Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s Collective Expressions does more than artfully play upon their organization’s name. The show is increasingly a collective vision of the 23 dancers and artists who have put together the individual pieces which constitute the program. The first act of the show features a seamless repertoire, something inspired by the increasing popularity of the company and the demand for them to perform.

“A couple of years ago, our already existing touring company was in need of works for whenever we were booked,” said Mandie Kolkman, Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s Artistic Director. “But it became a chicken and egg situation where we were trying to have works ready after we were booked but needed to have things ready before we were booked so we could fulfill our community’s needs.”

Taking a more proactive approach to the creation of new pieces became a little easier two years ago – albeit for all the wrong reasons. That subject matter became fodder for the works in the second act of Collective Expressions.

“The second half explores the juxtaposition between inside and outside,” Kolkman said. “It was something we got to explore during quarantine when we were all inside and wanted to be outside. But it goes beyond the physical inside and outside to the metaphysical, as well. That was the idea behind this show, to look at inside versus outside and move into some of the specific ways we can explore those themes which deals with issues of mental health too.”

After no show in 2020 and only video performances in 2021, this unplanned hiatus provided the chance to build a repertoire which prepares the growing company of eclectic talents to accept bookings as they come up, not to mention stage a show like Collective Expressions. Kolkman said that the first act of the show provides the company a way to fully express themselves artistically.

Mandie Kolkman

“That first act is our gift to our local movement artists. We provide them the space and time – studio space, lighting design, creative support – so that they can be paid to express themselves and who they are. What is your story? Each member of the company has unique talents and training. Some have classical training, but each piece is very different, some are contemporary, jazz, hip hop. There are dynamic lifts and some very athletic movement. This program is extraordinarily athletic and very challenging for our dancers. But it’s a true expression of our touring company dancers.”

Also featured is the FWDC youth company, the Pineapple Dance Project featuring dancers who will likely work their way into the touring company. The theme of outdoors is further explored through a collaboration with Aimee McClure of Fleur to Gather, and choreography from Madeline Miller via FWDC’s Choreographer’s Lab explores life on the spectrum. Kolkman also tapped into the masking talents of Fort Wayne Youtheatre Director Todd Espeland. Kolkman wants to represent as many arts as possible while representing the diverse community around us.

With two performances at Purdue Fort Wayne’s Williams Theatre (Saturday, August 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, August 14 at 2:30 p.m.), audiences can expect to see much to appreciate about the Fort Wayne Dance Collective touring company through their Collective Expressions. Tickets are $17. For more information, visit

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