Erica Wilson: Founder of the Reno Dance Festival, coming up on June 1  

The annual Reno Dance Festival was founded in 2021 by Erica Wilson of Mövgram Dance, along with co-producers Maggie Stack and Melissa Ennis. The impetus for the event was to provide a platform for emerging and established local choreographers to showcase their work. The festival takes place at the Glow Plaza, at 640 W. Fourth St., in downtown Reno, on Saturday, June 1, featuring 14-plus choreographers—a few of them premiering their work for the first time—as well as workshops, more than 50 artists and a DJ afterparty. Workshops run during the afternoon, and main performance will be at 7 p.m., with an afterparty is scheduled start at 9 p.m. The event is all-ages and family-friendly, and tickets to the main performance are $30. Some seating is available; organizers also encourage people to bring blankets and lawn chairs. For tickets and information, visit sierraarts.org/event/reno-dance-festival-2024-june-1. 

Who is involved in the fest? What dance companies will be there? 

This year’s dance event features a diverse lineup, including established local groups like Paulina Productions, Around the Stage, The Dapper Tappers and guest group The Rolle Project. Additionally, individual choreographers, recent University of Nevada, Reno, dance graduates, and Reno locals from Mövgram Dance are participating. The dancers have hailed from various Reno circles, notably The Loft dance studio, UNR’s dance department, Northern Nevada Ballet, The Conservatory of Movement and The Reno Empire—really, all over Reno!  

The event showcases a variety of dance styles, including hip-hop, jazz, tap, modern and contemporary, with a focus on providing a platform for artists less frequently showcased. About half of them are established companies that are already grounded in Reno’s community, like Paulina Productions and Around the Stage, and the other half are young artists, some who have never had their work shown. … They are maybe having just graduated from the University of Reno’s dance department and are kind of spreading their wings, if you will. And a couple of people—it’s their first work, so that’s what I really love about being able to have a festival like this: It gives people like that a chance to show their work when it’s really hard to find a stage. 

Who is your audience? 

Our audience consists of diverse Reno locals from various circles, including fellow dancers, friends, family and members of the broader arts community. RDF serves as a platform for newcomers to connect with Reno’s vibrant dance scene, offering opportunities to perform, attend classes and build friendships. In our close-knit community, word of mouth plays a significant role, reflecting Reno’s “Biggest Little City” charm. Additionally, we welcome dance enthusiasts seeking an entertaining show. We see people moving into Reno. … We’ve had a lot of people moving here from California … people who come here for Burning Man, and there’s just a big artistic community coming in from a lot of different places.