D.A.N.C.E. (Distinguished All Night Community Entertainers) Art Club consists of Linda T. Tanoai, Ahilapalapa Rands, Vaimaila Urale and Chris Fitzgerald. The four visual artists met while studying art at Auckland University of Technology and formed in 2008. Since then, D.A.N.C.E Art Club have staged a number of self-curated and self-funded events with a strong focus on collaborative practice. D.A.N.C.E. Art Club’s practice celebrates the social dynamic as a creative platform. Utilising themed music, entertainment and refreshments are some of the ways D.A.N.C.E Art Club encourages audiences to come
In 2012, for instance, D.A.N.C.E Art Club presented Kava Circle at Snake Pit Gallery, where the passing of a kava bowl functioned as a platform for those present to participate in a shared ceremony. Venues are also a key consideration in D.A.N.C.E. Art Club events. Constantly seeking new and diverse exhibition spaces, D.A.N.C.E. Art Club have staged projects in traditional gallery spaces and art festivals to more public spaces such as nightclubs and public parks. Their Pool Hall Competition, held at K’Rd Ball Room in 2010, demonstrates the importance of locations in allowing different types of activities. By situating their events in a variety of spaces, D.A.N.C.E Art Club blur the distinction between entertainment and art while creating democratic social spaces.
Conceptually, D.A.N.C.E. Art Club draws on everyday life to explore universal themes. In 2010, they created a trilogy of events called Casual Romance Club. The Club considered the nature of romance, love and relationships in the modern age. The first event took place on Valentine’s Day at the Albert Park rotunda, Auckland. Linda T. and Chris set up a DJ zone dedicated to love songs while Ahilapalapa and Vaimaila made romantic decorations, sweet treats and love potion. The second iteration of the Club took place at Enjoy Gallery Wellington, where the collective collaborated with artists Janet Lilo, Arie Hellendoorn, Jonathan Cameron, Jacqueline McGraw, Emma Nicholls, Keila Martin and blogger Greer Mcdonald. The final instalment of Casual Romance Club took place at Auckland bar Cassette Number Nine. Guests were invited to participate in a soirée of love songs and conversation by candlelight in the form of speed-dating-meets-musical-chairs.
D.A.N.C.E Art Club’s focus on collaboration has led them to work with a number of arts organisations, including Artspace, Enjoy Art Gallery, Letting Space, Papakura Art Gallery, Snake Pit, RM and ST PAUL St Gallery. Their exhibition I Go Where the Party Takes Me was shown at James Wallace Gallery, Auckland in 2009 and Sarjeant Gallery, Whanganui in 2010. In 2012, they were also invited to present a commissioned project at Next Wave Festival in Melbourne. They have also participated in The Wellington Collaboratorium, where they presented a seminar alongside New York-based collaborative artist Gregory Sholette.