Third Lake Tahoe Dance Festival bringing world-class talent next week | SierraSun.com

Third Lake Tahoe Dance Festival bringing world-class talent next week

Katrina Paz
Special to the Sun

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — The shores of Lake Tahoe will serve as a stage for world-class dance next week, as a collection of classical, contemporary and modern dancers from across the nation take part in the Lake Tahoe Dance Festival.

The festival was launched by Tahoe City native Christin Hanna and longtime collaborator Constantine Baecher in 2013. Hanna has danced professionally with the Oakland Ballet and Cincinnati Ballet. She was also a founding member of New York City's New Chamber Ballet.

Baecher is co-founder of Denmark's Copenhagen International Choreography Competition. He has danced with the Royal Danish Ballet, and KUNST-STOFF San Francisco, and was most recently a part of Carolyn Carlson's "NOW" at Theatre National de Chaillot in Paris.

Hanna's prolific career as a freelance performer, choreographer and instructor has allowed her to bring together an impressive group of dancers for the festival, including Kristina Berger, a principal dancer with Erick Hawkins Dance Company; Stephen Straub, formerly of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet; Tom Mattingly of Visceral Dance Chicago; and Arolyn Williams, a soloist with Ballet West.

"We have made it the festival's mission to present diverse programming and have brought together a great group of dancers to do just that," said Hanna. "We want to showcase different choreographers while also preserving important works from the past."

'High-Caliber Talent and Performances'

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The festival on July 22-24 will include excerpts of modern dance pioneer Erick Hawkins' "Here and Now with Watchers" which premiered in New York in 1957.

During the performance, Berger and Baecher will be joined by dancers participating in the Young Dancers Workshop, which pairs local and visiting dance students with festival artists. Designed for dancers ages 11 and up, the three-week intensive is aimed at refining technique while enhancing and promoting artistic growth.

Straub will premiere a solo work as well as a reimagining of a suite from "A Midsummer Nights' Dream." Mattingly will be joined on stage by Williams in his duet "Ave Maria." Finally, Hanna and Baecher will also perform their new collaboration, "Proximity," which premiered in New York at New Chamber Ballet's tenth anniversary celebration.

"What's amazing about having these accomplished dancers coming to Lake Tahoe is that not only do they grace the area with high-caliber talent and performances, but they also share their skills and experience with the region's younger and aspiring dancers," Hanna said.

Hanna founded the Lake Tahoe Youth Ballet in 2008. Under that umbrella, she incorporates the Young Dancers' Workshop into the festival. The workshop is designed for dancers ages 11 and up and runs through July 24.

The intensive training is aimed at refining technique while enhancing and promoting artistic growth. Participants will also take part in the festival, dancing alongside festival performers.

The fun begins Wednesday

The Lake Tahoe Dance Festival begins Wednesday, July 22, with a gala night opening celebration, which includes dinner catered by Crest Café and a silent auction. Dancers return to the stage under the skies Thursday and Friday at 6:30 p.m. with free talks at 5:30 p.m.

Picnic options and VIP tables are also available. All performances take place at the Gatekeeper's Museum at 130 West Lake Blvd. in Tahoe City.

The Lake Tahoe Dance Festival helped launch the Lake Tahoe Dance Collective, the area's first professional dance company. The Collective is amid its first full series of performances, and culminates with a performance by the New Chamber Ballet October 15-17.

The 2015 season is made possible in part by the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, Tahoe Art Haus & Cinema, Sierra Sun, Milton Shoong Foundation, and the generosity of individual donors.

The Lake Tahoe Dance Festival is hosted by the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society and is sponsored by Alpenglow Sports. Visit laketahoedancefestival.org for more information or to buy tickets.