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Fort Wayne Dance Collective returns to the stage with a live audience

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - The Fort Wayne Dance Collective returned to the stage with a live audience for the first time this weekend since before the pandemic.  

"Over the pandemic we had to alter a lot of our programs and try to find ways to enrich our community and share our art.” 

Mandie Kolkman is the artistic director at the Fort Wayne Dance Collective. She says this weekend they hosted their annual choreographer's lab. She says they required people to still wear masks and social distance. 

“Something an artist really looks for is that feedback,” Kolkman said. “To have an audience where we can actually feel their energy and after a year of just producing and to actually receive that back and be uplifted ourselves.” 

She says it’s important for dancers to have a live audience in order to feed off of their energy. 

"We’re doing the best we can to continue to think outside of the box,” Kolkman said. “We’re really not out of this year and we have a huge part through engaging our community through the arts and we want to do everything we can to do that.” 

Kolkman says they want to be a part of the solution to ending the pandemic, and they will still require masks until that point. 

In case you missed the Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s shows this weekend, there is a digital version available for purchase on their website.

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Karli VanCleave

Karli VanCleave is a multimedia journalist at WPTA for the evening newscast. Karli is a Fort Wayne native and Indiana University Bloomington graduate.
Feel free to connect with her on Facebook (@KarliVanCleaveNews) and Twitter (@Karli_VanCleave), or if you have a story idea send her an email at

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