Sometimes two plus two does not equal four. Two squirrels plus two acorns equals two squirrels. A family added to another family makes one bigger family.

If you go

WHAT: "Find the Moment"

WHEN: 8 p.m. Dec. 12

WHERE: Redux Contemporary Art Center, 136 St. Philip St.

COST: $15 in advance; $20 at the door; $10 students with ID


WHAT: Hip-Hop Battle with Sean Bankhead

WHEN: 9 p.m. Dec. 13

WHERE: Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St.

COST: $15 in advance; $20 at the door; $10 students with ID


WHAT: Performance Showcases

WHEN: 6 and 8 p.m. Dec. 14

WHERE: Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St.

COST: Combined ticket for both shows is $25 in advance, $30 at the door; individual show is $15 in advance, $20 at the door, $10 students with ID


When two art forms combine, sometimes what you get is much more than the sum of its parts. Throw in smart phone technology and social media and the total effect could be hard to calculate.

Expect some odd math on Thursday when the Charleston Dance Festival presents the first of three public performances. "Find the Moment" is an improvisatory spectacle that uses Redux Contemporary Art Center as a stage and the art installation by James Brendan Williams as a stage set.

A group of dancers, led by Stephanie Burg and Sara Cart of the Charleston Dance Project (who choreographed the work), will wend their way around the space, interacting with the art and one another as musicians Bill Carson, Jack Burg and Nick Jenkins make some live noise, also largely improvised.

But first, a bit of contextual philosophy: According to the famous sculptor Richard Serra, "Drawing is a verb." Artistic content is found as much in the process as in the product. Similarly, it should be said (surely Serra would approve) that dance is a verb. The product and process are unified, and can yield no aesthetic or intellectual satisfaction without movement.

Serra was so obsessed with verbs that he wrote down 84 of them (to mix, to splash, to knot, to droop, etc.), along with 24 possible contexts (of tension, of gravity, of entropy, of nature, etc.). His "Verb List" (1967-68), now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, was a manifesto describing a series of "actions to relate to oneself, material, place, and process." It would guide his work.

"Find the Moment" borrows from this idea. Spectators will get a copy of Serra's "Verb List" as they arrive at Redux and receive instructions to choose three words and to keep their smart phones on and camera-ready. During the performance, patrons are to snap pictures of dancers in the process of enacting the particular actions described by the selected verbs, then post the photos to a designated social media site.

In so doing, art will appear, nearly simultaneously, in both reality and cyberspace. Movement will be witnessed even as it is frozen in images. A verb in the hand will be worth at least two in the bush.

"We are blurring the lines between audience and performer," said Sara Bennett, founder and executive director of the Charleston Dance Alliance, which is co-producing the festival with Dancefx Charleston.

The collaboration is multifaceted, Bennett said. Because of the improvisatory nature of the performance, the dancers and musicians will be responding to the verbs, to one another and to the art itself. What's more, the show provides an opportunity for the festival and Redux to join forces, she said.

Stacy Huggins, executive director of Redux, was the one who came up with the idea of using Serra's "Verb List." It was a way to wed visual art with performance, words with movement, and it appealed to her sensibilities as a gallery manager, she said.

"I'm excited about the fact that people want to have dialogues between mediums," Huggins said.

Eight dancers - Norah McCrossin, Starla Kurtz, Lyn Tally, Maggie Bailey, Tim Brown, Jon Michael Perry, Stephanie Burg and Sara Cart - will follow the contours of a broad choreographed structure within which they will improvise specific content based on those verbs, Burg said. Spectators will be free to meander through the one-room seatless gallery even as the dancers infiltrate the space and navigate through the artwork and people. The three musicians will be stationed somewhere in the gallery. The movement will build over the course of the performance, Burg said.

The conceptual nature of this dance work is not unlike Williams' site-specific installation art, Huggins said. It has no clear agenda, offering instead opportunities to consider how industrial and found objects - the waste of modern society - can be transformed into substantial images and shapes that convey meaning, she said.

The exhibition is titled "Everything Left to Chant," and it strives to "uncode" various "components of the built environment," according to the artist. It will remain open until Jan. 11.

The Charleston Dance Festival will continue on Friday with a Hip Hop Battle at Memminger Auditorium, featuring special guest Sean Bankhead of Atlanta, a renowned dancer who has worked with big-name professionals. (A hip hop workshop at 6 p.m. will precede the main event.)

The festival concludes with a performance showcase on Sunday, featuring more than 20 dance companies, local and regional. Artists will populate the Memminger stage for two presentations, at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Several educational opportunities also are planned, including a five-day master class, Dec. 11-15, with Kathleen Jewett, director of education and outreach for Shen Wei Dance Arts.

For more information on festival programming, to register for workshops and to purchase tickets, go to

Reach Adam Parker at 937-5902. Follow him at www.facebook/aparkerwriter.