The latest addition to the East Passyunk art scene commences its opening celebrations this weekend. The Whole Shebang is a dance studio-cum-art gallery that opened March 9 and has been hosting workshops and classes since, but next weekend will see its first performance.
The Whole Shebang aims to create a space outside of the major institutions where visiting dancers and other performers can display art and offer workshops. When there aren't major acts sweeping through, there will be yoga classes (of a nondogmatic nature) and room for visual artists to do their thing.
"We are primarily focused on experimental art and research and open classes for those not in the performance community but for those interested in it," says Meg Foley, a lifelong dancer and cofounder of the Whole Shebang.
The Whole Shebang is roughly 850 square feet in the shape of a diamond. The space is outfitted with a heated spring floor, so it has give for the dancers (presumably making yoga less arduous, too).
Next weekend, the Whole Shebang is one of two sites hosting the "Figuring" series, which features four women artists - two visitors and two locals, including Foley. Both performances relate to the interaction of bodies within the larger cities where they dwell - although in profoundly different ways.
The Friday performance, the grander and more flamboyant of the two, is at the Vox Populi gallery, with Philly's Christina Zani and Toronto-based Eroca Nicols - consensual audience participation included. Zani's work deals with the history of dance and ever-changing representations of the body, while Nicols focuses on dance as a ritual.
The Whole Shebang will host a quieter, more reflective show Saturday. Foley will perform with the Berlin-based dancer and choreographer Alice Chauchat. Both will offer works in progress. "I am looking at how to be many of myself all at once with you the audience," says Foley. Chauchat's performance will investigate the formalization of social spaces.
Tickets for Friday's show at Vox Populi, 319 N. 11th St., are $15. The cost is $10 for Saturday at Whole Shebang, 1813 S. 11th St. Both shows start at 8 p.m.