Bravo to D.J. Palladino for his spotlight on Dianne Vapnek and her beloved approach to highlighting the art of dance in our fair city. My own move from arts-centric Chicago to sleepy Santa Barbara was fraught with anxiety over the cultural deficiency I would no doubt endure in the 805. That my move coincided with Dianne’s annual Summerdance workshop series was nothing short of a serendipitous lifesaver. Nestled in among local and international dancers and to my profound delight, I found the camaraderie I craved in those daily workshops, and the inspiration needed to evolve my own artistic propensities. Thanks in very large part to a community that thrives on the daily presence of art within our county lines, Santa Barbara dance studios and companies have flourished at a feverish pace, creating work that even broader audiences have begun to notice.
And so begin the makings of a delicious cocktail of local artists blended with national artists, shaken with international audiences – and suddenly Santa Barbara is on the lips of artistic scene-makers worldwide. Where once companies like Mark Morris and Brian Brooks looked to our northern and southern metropolitan cousins to debut their newest works, it is our lovely stages they’re suddenly being drawn to, assisted by Vapnek-minded organizations such as UCSB Arts & Lectures and the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance. I am honored to be present among the performing arts renaissance Santa Barbara is currently experiencing and can’t thank Ms. Vapnek enough for thoughtfully drawing in global talent while still maintaining the virtues of terroir. It’s a delicate dance she’s seemed to master effortlessly.