Cybil Gilbertson was working as a dancer and yoga instructor in 2006 when she learned that her Aunt Barbara had committed suicide. In the weeks and months that followed, as Gilbertson reeled from the loss, she began to choreograph as a way to heal. Her creation, a dance and spoken word solo, drew big responses from those who saw it. Moved, she started thinking about a venue where artists could come together to address social issues through art. Gilbertson launched the first such evening at Yoga Soup in October 2009. She called it NECTAR.
Four years later, NECTAR has become a staple of the homegrown performing arts scene. Now a quarterly happening, it draws together a cross-section of dancers, writers, visual artists, singer/songwriters, and filmmakers around a common theme: grief, love, war, birth. The proceeds from each gathering go to support an area nonprofit whose work addresses that month’s topic.
This month, in honor of NECTAR’s fourth birthday and the future of the series, Gilbertson will host a loosely themed evening: “Open,” an event that’s part performance, part celebration, and part fundraiser. The subtitle of the evening is a question: “What opens you?” In addition to performances, there will be refreshments, a raffle, and a silent auction, with funds going to support NECTAR’s growth.
Much has happened in the four years since NECTAR’s launch, including the birth of Gilbertson’s first child. Becoming a mother has shifted her perspective on the world, and on the arts. Looking forward, she envisions a NECTAR children’s art festival. “Children are the future,” she noted, adding that she’d like to create “a vivid environment where kids can dream; a kind of Burning Man-meets-Solstice street art event.”
Sounds fun, but for Gilbertson, NECTAR has always been more than that. “I think creativity and imagination are what get us through hard times,” she said. “We all have it in us; it’s part of our birthright.”
NECTAR’s “Open” kicks off at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 14, at Yoga Soup (28 Parker Wy.). To learn more, visit sbnectar.com.