Built on Stilts dance festival comes full circle

"So Cool It's Hot" performed by the RISE Vineyard Performing Arts summer ensemble. — Photo by Angelina Godbout

If you missed the first weekend of Built on Stilts performances, you still have four more nights to see the dance festival at Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs. The 17th annual event showcases many styles of performance art, from the drum circle that begins each performance at 7:30, to all types of dance performed by both amateurs and professionals.

According to the event’s website, founders Abby Bender and Anna Luckey created Built on Stilts in 1997, “in the hopes of creating an all-inclusive, grassroots performance venue for Island artists.” What kicked off as a one-night performance has now blossomed into an eight-night festival, but it hasn’t lost its inclination towards grassroots inclusivity.

This year, there has been a “changing of the guards,” says Ms. Bender. “Many of the locally grown amateur dances are being made and performed by young adults who grew up through the kids and teens workshops and have been part of the festival since they were quite small.”

Built on Stilts, August 17–20, drum circle begins at 7:30 pm, dance begins at 8 pm, Union Chapel, Oak Bluffs. Free; donations encouraged. For more information, visit builtonstilts.org.