Built on Stilts turns 25

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Built on Stilts' dance festival celebrates 25 years at the Union Chapel. — Dena Porter

The Vineyard’s homegrown community dance festival celebrates 25 years at Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs from August 12 to 14 and August 21 to 23.

Built on Stilts’ six-night festival features the work of performers from the Vineyard and beyond, with professionals and amateurs, young and old. According to a press release, what began in 1997 as a one-night concert featuring the work of seven choreographers has since ballooned into “an Island institution that reflects the community’s remarkable artistic spirit.” The festival’s all-inclusive philosophy has attracted a range of choreographic sophistication and technical ability, the release says, defining Built on Stilts by its collective energy and creative output as “a home in which professional participants are free to experiment and fledgling performers can discover the joy of making dances.”

The program varies each night, and although all performances are free, donations at the door are encouraged. No reservations or tickets are required to attend. Doors open at 7:30 pm with a drum circle and dancers warm-up, with shows beginning at 8 pm. All audiences, performers, drummers, and crew — with the exception of children under 5 — will be required to wear masks. See the detailed festival schedule and more info at builtonstilts.org.