After the DANCEworks 2017 amazing performance at the Lobero Theatre last Saturday, September 2, which blended Argentinian tango with contemporary dance, about 100 donors, VIPs, boardmembers, friends and family celebrated with the cast in the Lobero’s tented courtyard.
Each year since 2009, DANCEworks runs a four-week residency program that provides artists with an incredible opportunity: the actual theater where they will perform for an entire four week period. It is a collaboration between SUMMERDANCE Santa Barbara, a nonprofit that showcases contemporary dance, and the Lobero Theatre Foundation.
This year brought together NY-based contemporary dance company Kate Weare Company and Lyon, France-based Argentinian tango company Union Tanguera with Artistic Director Esteban Moreno. Sin Salida/In Love I Broke Beyond was a bold and wildly successful mix of contemporary dance and Argentinian tango that explored multiple layers of desire among the five dancers.
At the afterparty in the Courtyard, guests casually mingled with the choreographers and dancers. During a short program, SUMMERDANCE founder and Executive Director Dianne Vapnek shared how she was filled with “so much gratitude for what we all shared tonight and what we shared during this residency.” While noting that she tries not to have expectations with dance productions because “expectations just get in the way,” she nevertheless does have them and this production so far exceeded them. According to Vapnek, it was truly remarkable to be able to bring together disparate forms of dance with two people who met for the first time four weeks ago to produce what everyone had just experienced.
Vapnek shared how the choreographers and dancers “easily blended together at some times and at other times struggled to find a common language. There has been laughter, some tears, excitement and tremendous energy and joy in this exploration.”
Weare expressed her own gratitude for Vapnek, noting that “it takes a very brave person to believe in artists…When we experiment, we fail - often - that’s actually how we develop.” Weare thanked the community, characterizing the warm Santa Barbara reception as being “like a gentle waterbirth.”
Estaban also expressed his deep thankfulness to Vapnek. He went on to note how he and his dancers rarely enjoy a performance until at least the 10th show in, but here on the second night, everyone was really enjoying themselves. He thanked the community for its support, emphasizing the usefulness of the weekly Friday Club, where the community was invited to attend a rehearsal and discussion followed by a reception with the cast.
While pleased with the performances, Weare shared that she sees significant work ahead. The two companies travel to Lyon next for a two-week development session. The world premier in Lyon is slated for February 2018. Thanks to support from the National Dance Project, the collaboration will then tour nationally.
For a fuller description of this production, see The Independent’s September 31 cover story by Charles Donelan, which can also be found here: independent.com/news/2017/aug/31/21st-century-tango/ and Donelan’s performance review: independent.com/news/2017/sep/05/danceworks-sin-salida/. For more information about DANCEworks in general, go to sbdanceworks.com, where you can also join the mailing list. For other info about the Lobero Theatre, including upcoming performances, go to lobero.org.
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By Gail Arnold