On a cold and windy Friday morning last week, Castleton University dance professor Maya Kraus took her speaker up the icy steps of Woodruff Hall and began to dance.
Onlookers stood outside of Leavenworth in coats and sweaters chatting as Kraus moved up and down the steps.
“It’s definitely an interesting day for her to do it,” said Adam Howe, a junior at Castleton.
This is the second week Kraus has set out for an hour of dancing around campus, something she’s named the “Dance Everywhere Project.”
“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” said Hunter Ashcroft, a freshman. “It’s really cool.”
It’s as new to the students to see as it is for Kraus to perform.
“I don’t normally dance outside. I think I’ve done it twice in my whole life for an audience that I don’t know,” she said. “But it’s refreshing to me, so I want to keep doing it and I want to keep challenging myself”
Though she enjoys getting out of the studio, the project isn’t just about having fun and trying something new.
“I’m doing it because of the lack of the arts in the public eye,” she said. “Stripping it down from its sometimes elitist point of view, because it should be for everybody.”
The “Dance Everywhere Project” is about trying to bring art to the people instead of the other way around.
“The arts just aren’t getting the attention that they used to,” Kraus said. “We need to make strides to be in places where people are comfortable and that’s outside walking around. So even if someone’s walking by, they can like glance. They don’t have to stop and watch.”
It’s a goal that has already gotten across to some who’ve seen her performance.
“I think it’s great. It’s educational and it gets the arts out into the public,” said Howe.
Kraus will be moving her performance to a different building every week. Through Woodruff may not have been the safest places to dance, to her it’s one of the most interesting.
“I was really excited to be on the steps of Woodruff because there’s so much to do there,” said Kraus. “But it was a little dangerous. At one point I was on the ledge because I was like, ‘Oh, I’ve always wanted to be a gargoyle!” she said. “Then I was like, ‘Oh my God, I have to get down. How do I get down from here?’”
Even though the weather was bad and won’t be getting better, she doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. Kraus plans to continue for the rest of this semester and the next.
“Yeah, it’s a challenge. The steps were icy. Snow and ice on the railings. The columns are gigantic. You can’t use those to support,” she said. “But sometimes when you’re in a studio, when you’re on a stage that flat … it’s sometimes a little too simple.”
Kraus is looking at Leavenworth for her next weekly outing, though she hasn’t decided where around the building yet.