‘Appetizers’ benefits InnerRhythms dancers
Hoping to build on last year’s successful event, the dancers, choreographers and organizers who make up the InnerRhythms Dance Theatre have been working hard to ensure that the group’s second annual Appetizers for the Arts fund-raiser comes off without a hitch.
On March 5 at the PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn, guests will be treated to performances by the InnerRhythms dancers, San Francisco’s XYandZ Aerialist Theater, the Truckee Community Chorus, the guys from Tahoe Truckee High School’s production of “Footloose” and more, all accompanied by a wide selection of gourmet appetizers from local establishments such as PlumpJack, Moody’s, Cottonwood, Dragonfly, Christy Hill and many other restaurants.
As the group’s single largest revenue source during the year, the Appetizers for the Arts fund-raiser is essential to the InnerRhythms organization, whose goal is to promote the performing arts in this area and better prepare local dancers for professional dance careers.
“Basically, this is what carries us through the whole year,” said Elizabeth Archer, the executive and artistic director of the InnerRhythms Dance Theatre. “Last year this carried us through six or seven months of operations, so this is really important to us. It’s essential that we raise funds from this, otherwise we aren’t happening.”
Archer is hoping this year’s fund-raiser will improve on last year, as the group has grown in size and has laid out an ambitious performance schedule for 2004.
According to Archer, “InnerRhythms has changed in that we learned a lot of lessons the first time around … We’ve grown from 12 dancers to 20, our age range is from 12-40, and we have more adult dancers this year than we did last year, which makes me feel good because I feel like the art is being represented better.”
To help make the evening go smoothly, organizers for the Appetizers for the Arts benefit have made a few changes to last year’s format.
“The evening is just going to be a little different than last year because we are going to have an actual show time and more of a theater-type presentation,” Archer said. “It’ll be a reception with the Joe Dolister Jazz Trio and a silent auction, and then we’ll go upstairs at show time. Then people will come back downstairs for dessert, coffee and more jazz.”
Guests can expect to see two dance performances by the InnerRhythms dancers, including a dance to the song “All That Jazz” from the musical “Chicago” that was choreographed by former InnerRhythms student Christina Jones. The second number will be an upbeat hip-hop piece entitled “Looking Back” that was choreographed by InnerRhythms Artistic Director Kimberly Pinkson.
Joining the InnerRhythms dancers will be the progressive aerialist dance company XYandZ from San Francisco. The group, which features dancers strung from wires swinging throughout the spaces they perform in, is not your typical dance company.
“We’re really excited about that because it’s really innovative and it’s real different. It’s like the new up-and-coming thing,” Archer said.
XYandZ founders Dustin Stephens and Karen Fuhrman recently checked out the layout of the PlumpJack conference center where the performance will be held, and expect to be able to put on an amazing display of aerialist dance.
“It’s not only dance, it’s not only theater,” said Fuhrman. “We try to incorporate the space and the audience… so we didn’t really know what we were going to do until we saw the space.”
Utilizing wires and rigging techniques borrowed from the stage and disciplines such as rock climbing, the group’s approach to dance allows its dancers to explore all three dimensions rather than being confined to a stage.
“We try to overlap with the audience as much as possible so there isn’t a definite stage. We try to interact with the audience as much as we can,” Stephens said.
In addition to the innovative performances, guests at this year’s Appetizers for the Arts benefit will have the opportunity to bid on a number of items in a silent auction, including: a one-night stay at the Resort at Squaw Creek, a one-hour massage by Kimba Shuster, dermatology services by Dr. Salm, 20 hours of carpentry labor by Tim Peterson, a Keoki Flagg Photograph, Candles from 1001 Lights by Shahrazade, and many other unique items.
The money raised this year will be especially important to InnerRhythms because of the lack of grant money available from state and local arts organizations lately.
“We’ve been starving,” Archer said, “but we just keep doing it because we love it. For me, it just goes back to the kids; they’re my dancers. It’s so important to me to give them that avenue, and I hate it that they have to leave the mountains to do that.”
The second annual Appetizers for the Arts benefit will take place on Friday, Mar. 5, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn. Tahoe formal attire is requested and tickets are limited. The cost of the evening will be $50 per person, and tickets can be obtained by calling (530) 584-1210. All proceeds from the event will go to benefit the performing arts in the Truckee/Tahoe region.
InnerRhythms Dance Theatre also has a number of other events coming up, including their Gala performances on Friday and Saturday, April 2-3, in the Truckee High School auditorium. For more information on this or any other InnerRhythms events call their hotline at 584-1210.
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