Two years ago, when State Street Ballet was planning to perform dance pieces inspired by specific wines in the heart of the Funk Zone, there was a lot of skepticism about how that would play out. But those who attended the flashy affair will never forget the stunning display of sensual energy and sexy excitement that ensued, as the dancers, music, wine, and appetizers swirled into a feast for all senses that was more memorable than any wine tasting I’d ever attended.
On April 27, from 6-8 p.m., State Street Ballet is finally doing it again, this time at the S.B. Wine Collective, where they will erect an indoor-outdoor stage and perform four drastically different dances specially selected to go with four very fine wines. “When I drink wine, I don’t just think of the smell or the taste; I think of different kinds of movement and which piece would go well with the wine,” said Teri Jory, the event’s original visionary. “And as Santa Barbara culture moves toward the Funk Zone, State Street Ballet wants to be there, too.”
They’re calling the $50, all-you-can-sip event a friendraiser. “We’ve had a lot of great support from patrons for the last two decades, but we want to get more exposure with a younger demographic and take our performance somewhere outside the theater to keep making dance more mainstream, hip, and fun,” said ballerina Leila Drake Fossek, who also performed in the 2014 event and sees a strong connection between the two arts. “Dance is the universal language, and wine comes from ancient times.”
Here’s a sneak peek at the planned pairings.
Fess Parker “Fesstivity” Brut Rosé 2014 with a surprise: This hush-hush kickoff piece will “definitely get the party started,” according to Jory, and it is paired with the Parker family’s pink bubbles.
The Paring Chardonnay 2014 with duet from Common Ground: Fossek and Thomas Fant will perform this dance choreographed by Edgar Zendejas (as part of a collaboration between three distinct dance companies) set to the music of Max Richter’s recomposed version of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. “It feels optimistic and sweet and simple,” said Fossek. “And chardonnay is sunny and creamy and buttery, something that ushers you into the rest of your evening.”
Storm Presqu’ile Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 with “The Dying Swan”: Michel Fokine’s classic dance from 1907, which is experiencing a resurgence in popularity thanks to The Black Swan film, will be performed by Lilit Hogtanian. Winemaker Ernst Storm said his wine is “both New World/modern and Old World/classic, which could tie into ballet. It is a more delicate style of pinot noir which could be compared to a dancer — light, transparent, and delicate.”
Babcock Syrah 2012 with Bachata: Mauricio Vera and Deise Mendonça will perform this modern form of salsa to match with Bryan Babcock’s bold red. “This is a new way of salsa that’s more connected,” said Vera, who is from Chile. “The bodies become connected by the hips.” He’s excited to be pushing the boundaries of dance in this way. “We are the vanguardia,” he said. “Wine helps me experience new flavors and opens more than just the five senses.”
See ssbfunkzonestyle.com for tickets and more details.