DANCEworks’ 10th Anniversary

Choreographers Unite to Celebrate Dianne Vapnek

David Bazemore

This recital was truly something to celebrate as, for two nights, Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theatre became the world capital of contemporary dance. Thanks to Dianne Vapnek, the visionary patron behind first Summerdance and now, for the past 10 years, the DANCEworks residencies at the Lobero, our city has acquired a unique currency among the most exciting dance makers of the 21st century, and for this, the 10th anniversary of DANCEworks at the Lobero, they all showed up.

In some ways the most amazing thing about the two acts of this program — the first a new work in progress by Doug Elkins, and the second a tribute to DANCEworks featuring eight amazing solos — was the fact that both things were happening on the same night. Here was the core DANCEworks experience, a substantial new work developed entirely on-site in the theater; here also was a comprehensive review of the extraordinary range of styles that the program has hosted over the past decade.

Kintsugi, with its sophisticated movement vocabulary and dramatic, percussive fan work, gave the audience a perfect sense of what is at the heart of the DANCEworks mission. Ideas of all sizes came tumbling out of choreographer Elkins and went coursing through the lithe bodies of his talented company of six dancers. Infused with hip-hop, grounded by capoeira, and all Elkins, this work is a potential tour de force, and it will be exciting to track its development as the team takes it further.

After the intermission, Larry Keigwin took the stage to introduce an extraordinary sequence of performances that included Adam Barruch’s inspired take on Sweeney Todd, Mark Dendy’s unforgettable “Rumsfeld” from Elvis Everywhere, a wild excursion on Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused” danced by Jason Cianciulli and choreographed by Kate Weare, and touching, personal solos by Keigwin, Doug Varone, and Brian Brooks. Long may DANCEworks flourish!


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