Will Dance For Work—DANCEworks

Posted on Feb 26 by SEASONS Magazine

Story by Justine Sutton

SUMMERDANCE Santa Barbara, founded by Laurie Burnaby and Dianne Vapnek, brought nationally acclaimed choreographers and dancers to our humble seaside town for ten glorious years.

Photo by Matthew Murphy, courtesy of the Lobero

Photo by Matthew Murphy, courtesy of the Lobero

When its turn in the spotlight was over, SUMMERDANCE stepped back to take a supporting role, partnering with Lobero Theatre Foundation to birth DANCEworks, under the direction of Vapnek—the only dance residency of its kind in the nation.

Whereas most dance is created in a studio with just a few rehearsals in the theater, in this innovative collaboration, established contemporary choreographers are invited to create new work during a one-month residency at Lobero Theatre. At the end of the month, selections of their repertoire, along with the new works they have created, are performed on that very stage.

Each work created in these residencies has toured nationally and internationally with the company’s repertoire and has the distinction of being “Made in Santa Barbara.”

This year, DANCEworks welcomes back Larry Keigwin, who wowed us in 2010 with new work, including Bolero Santa Barbara, incorporating about 40 local residents with a wide range of dance backgrounds.

“I am very grateful for the continued support from DANCEworks,” says Keigwin, “which has provided us with the invaluable experience of spending an extended period of time devoted to the creation of new work. Composing on the historic Lobero stage is truly a gift.” For more talk from Larry Keigwin, click here.

Community involvement through open rehearsals and master classes has been a part of the program all along. However, with this work—one of a series of Boleros he is building, each expressing the unique personality of a different city—Keigwin takes this concept to a whole new level.

“Larry was first here for SUMMERDANCE, and I jumped at the chance to be in his choreography with a whole bunch of locals,” says Misa Kelly. “What I remember most about that process is the joy, the laughter, the playfulness and the wonderment.”

His company celebrates its 10th anniversary this year as DANCEworks marks its fifth.

“It seemed entirely right to invite Larry Keigwin to return to DANCEworks on the occasion of his company’s 10th anniversary!” says Vapnek. “Larry is an astute observer of contemporary culture, and his choreography can be intense, driving, athletic, funny, sexy and revealing, always thrilling audiences.”

And, of course, everyone has been dying to know—what will happen this time?

“There is something in the air in Santa Barbara that makes the creative juices flow,” says Keigwin. “Is it the sun, the mountains, the culture? To me it’s about the people. I am glad to be back in Santa Barbara not only to create for my company, but also to create new video pop solos.”

Wait—video pop solos?

“They will be short musical numbers with local residents, captured on video and posted online—campy and fun,” he continues. “I grew up in the MTV generation, and I miss seeing all those great 80s music videos.”

Writer Justine Sutton can personally vouch for how much fun it is to participate in a DANCEworks residency, having done so for the past three years, including performing in Bolero Santa Barbara.

DANCEworks performances are March 1­–2, 8 p.m., at Lobero Theatre (805/963-0761). To stay up-to-date with DANCEworks and get involved next year, visit here.



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