As night fell over the Glenwood Life Center, its high-reaching windows shone a brilliant, warm light. In its beam dancers moved across the hardwood floors of the center’s tela, their footfalls adding percussive notes to the strumming of two guitarists who took refuge near a grand piano. The musicians played off one another in harmonious bliss despite having only met that evening, and just a few feet away artists scratched at sketchbooks dutifully, endeavoring to capture the dancer’s flowing movements.
This unfettered forum of artistic expression is the creation of veteran dancer Nicole Loizides, of Glen Cove, who after 25 years of performing has brought her passions home with “Art on the Spot.” “What I love to say to our community is that if you don’t work on your home you have nothing to stand on,” she said. “So what I’ve done after years of touring the globe is bring my expertise and love and passion home to build a home for others to stand on.”
Loizides, originally from Huntington Station, first landed in the North Shore after a whirlwind career as a professional dancer. She is classically trained in the Balanchine style of ballet, and after high school went on to dance with Ballet Hispanico New York and MOMIX dance companies. She was an assistant choreographer at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and a staging director for the 44th United Arab Emirates National Day.
Moving here, though, changed her life. “From 25 years of being on the road and living out of a bag it really helped me plant roots, and enabled me to meet friends as an adult.” In North Shore’s numerous bars and restaurants Loizides met other artists who desired a place to create and express freely. “Art on the Spot” is a self-described artists café that brings together creators of all mediums, from music and dance to photography and song, for an evening of expression. It is sponsored by Moving On, Loizides’ dance company, and will hold sessions at the Glenwood Life Center based on participants’ interests with the hope of moving to other spaces in the community.
“The Spot,” as Loizides likes to call it, held its first session earlier this month. She reached out to local artists who had also toured the world and trained with major names in the industry with the goal of creating a space where people could just be themselves. “At first it was stagnant, but when we recognized the art that was happening with each one of us, we learned we didn’t have to work with one another, we simply had to be with one another,” she said.
Twelve participants from near and far gathered at the center at “The Spot’s” session on Feb. 22 to engage in each other’s art. Two dancers — one from Brooklyn, one from West Babylon — constructed a brief routine using hula-hoops. Two musicians, from Sea Cliff and Glen Cove riffed on each other’s rhythms to create unheard melodies. Two artists — one from Sea Cliff, one from Queens — sketched similar impressions of the dancers in the dimly lit space.
Loizides said the sole rule of “The Spot” is respect. “In life there are certain guidelines and things you have to get done, and checkmarks that have to be made, but there aren’t any here,” she said. “It’s for finding where you groove in your own art.”
Joe Iadanza, of Sea Cliff, said, “Most of the music I get to play is pretty scripted, so it’s nice to come out and just play without having to think too much. As musicians we can get in our own heads a little bit, so it’s nice to be out and playing but also reacting to what’s going on here.”
Sea Cliff resident Eric Dixon drew figure drawings of the dancers during “Art on the Spot” using charcoal, graphite and eraser. As a trained artist, Dixon said he appreciated having an open forum to work in. “It’s really nice to have live talent and live music [in] a place for like-minded people to just explore the arts without any sort of commercial pressure,” he said.
Loizides added that any artwork created at “The Spot” would be put on display in the center’s gallery space, becoming another avenue for local artists to show their work. “What we do want is to build a following locally for the community to say ‘the people are here.’” she said, “and this is just the beginning of that.”
For more information about “Art on the Spot” or Moving On, visit @weremovingon on Facebook and Instagram or https://www.movingon.dance/.