Feature: Feverhead

From the 08/18/2011 edition

When it comes to creative problem-solving, Columbus residents have a do-it-yourself attitude. Say there is no grocery store in a neighborhood. They'll form a cooperative and start their own. If there is no easy way for restaurants to be eco-friendly, they'll open an operation that helps eateries go green.

Though the city has performing arts spaces, there is no ideal venue for independent dancers. Spaces are either too expensive to rent on a small budget, or they have concrete floors, which can be painful and potentially dangerous. OSU and Columbus Dance Theatre offer space, but their rooms are tough to reserve. Local dance fixture CoCo Loupe saw a need, so she came up with a solution.

Feverhead - which Loupe opened late last month with help from Noelle Chun, Maggie Abrams and Nicole Garlando, the other members of collective They Might Be Dancers - is a small industrial space that's nestled next to Bizzy Bee Printing in Grandview. Loupe considers Feverhead "a multidisciplinary space that has dance at its core," and performing artists can rent it for as little as $10 per hour.

The studio is essentially a living room-sized warehouse, with a dance floor built by Loupe and her husband covering all but a few feet in the room. It's by no means a polished performance venue, but to Loupe, that's the point.

"I'm letting people dream up what it can be for them," she said. "That's why I'm keeping it blank and kind of empty right now. It's raw. It's meant to be raw."

For Chun and Yu Xiao - the two contemporary dancers who on Aug. 24 will become the first to perform at Feverhead - that blank canvas offers a few creative challenges.

"We don't want this awful halogen light," Chun said of the overhead lights during a rehearsal, "so we bought a couple clip-on lamps. It's kind of an experiment."

During "What does this say about me, What does this say about you?," the dancers' evening-length duet (which includes floor work that wouldn't be comfortable on concrete), part of the audience will likely have to sit outside and observe through an opened dock door.

Room restrictions might limit performances to warm months, but dance classes and improvisational get-togethers will occur year-round. In the future, Loupe hopes to use the lot behind the building for outdoor events. She also thinks a small side room could become "a hidden art gallery."

"While this place is primarily set up to make dancers feel at home, it is so multipurpose that we really want to open up to other disciplines," Loupe said.