SAN DIEGO — To Andrea Feier, variety isn't just the spice of life, it's the staff of life.
Dance, mime, musical theater, drama, stand-up comedy, singing, clowning, character work, even spoon balancing. They're all part of Feier's bottomless bag of theatrical tricks, and the 24-year-old has found a separate niche for every facet of her multiple stage personality.
"I've been dancing since I was 5," said Feier, who is in San Diego for a concert appearance with Off-the-Wall Dance Project, slated for Three's Company's Lo-Tec series Saturday and Sunday at 8:30 p.m., "and somehow I keep coming back to dance. But other parts of me come flying out all the time.
"I've done a lot of musical theater for Starlight in San Diego. One summer, I did an apprenticeship with the La Jolla Playhouse, and I'm part of a theater group that does Shakespeare in New York. In fact, I hope to play Phoebe in 'As You Like It' for them in October.
"I do stand-up comedy, mostly at the Westbank Theatre Bar in New York, and I was accepted on the David Letterman show to do my spoon-balancing act. Unfortunately, they changed producers so I never went on. David and I are still friends, though," she said.
What drives Feier in so many divergent directions?
"Maybe it's therapeutic for me," she said. "Maybe it's a way to balance out my personality, I don't know. But when I get too intense, I come back to comedy, and when I get lackadaisical, I go back to the theater or dance.
"I'm very into whatever it is I'm doing at the time, and I really immerse myself into the work," Feier said. "But, once it's done, my eyes start to open wide again and the candy store is still there--and there are all those other candies there. . . . I'm not going to be one of those modern dancers who waits around for the next concert. I just keep doing things."
Feier, a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School, has chalked up four dance awards in the past few years and might have settled for modern dance exclusively if she had hooked up with Paul Taylor as expected. In fact, Feier worked with Taylor during her Juilliard days and even performed his "Cloven Kingdom" on Taylor's Live from Lincoln Center special.
"But the timing was always wrong, and now I think I have mixed emotions about trying again. I'd really like to do a project with Martha Clarke. For me, she bridged the gap between dance and theater. I'd like to do something with Bill Irwin, too," Feier said. "I worked with him at the playhouse and I think of myself as just his type."
Starlight's Bonnie Ward agrees that Feier is a unique talent.
"I love Andrea. She's the only dancer we ever ever hired from a tape," said Ward. "We never cast anyone without an audition, but she's very unusual. She's a wonderful dancer, but she's also incredibly versatile--and very funny."
Local aficionados will see a smattering of Feier's gifts this weekend when she teams up with Neta Pulvermacher and Ani Udovicki to dance six repertory works from Off-the-Wall Dance Project, a company they co-founded when they were all at Juilliard.
"We'll be doing modern dance," Feier said, "and I'll do one of my pieces, but I'm not sure which will tie in to Neta's. Neta's choreography is pure dance, sort of like Paul Taylor's--and my pieces have a lot of humor. Even when I was at Juilliard, I couldn't make a serious piece. They all came out comic."
The concert will feature the premiere of "The Poet Speaks," "Roundabout," a playful romp with brightly colored balls, and an explosive solo with the cryptic title, "Mystery," along with three other repertory works. Two local dancers have been tagged to join the threesome for "Quintet," an excerpt from a larger piece set to music of Bach.
The concert at Three's Company's Hillcrest studio marks the first time Off-the-Wall Dance Project will perform together since its guest spot at the North Carolina Dance Festival last summer, and Feier is looking forward to the reunion. The fact that the concert took her back to her La Jolla home was a bonus.
"I love coming back to La Jolla, but the bottom line for me," Feier said, "is that I just want to perform."