LAF 2017- ENTER-action by SDDT Company Dancers

San Diego Dance Theater is known for having some pretty skillful dancers with many skills who serve the company not only as performers, but in various other roles. If you stop by the office, you’ll probably find Blythe there. If you attend a show at White Box Live Arts, Minaqua is probably behind the tech table running lights. Zaquia is writing this blog in third person as we speak. But the dancers have even more tricks and talents up their sleeves. That is why we are looking forward to ENTER-action– an evening of dances in-the-round choreographed by a handful of the SDDT company dancers for LIVE ARTS FEST 2017! Company members Angel Acuña, Desiree Cuizon-Fejeran, and Zaquia Mahler Salinas will share works on the 22nd, but today’s blog gives you a little peek at the works John Diaz, Blythe Barton, and Minaqua McPherson will present. Enjoy!

JohnDiaz217John: The dance “Ones” is inspired by probably the earliest “Ah-Ha” moments I had ever had while watching dance. In early 1986, I saw a video of “Duets” choreographed by Merce Cunningham a year earlier. The relationship between the dancers was so evident in the simplicity of shared space and the sheer drama of precisely executed movement. This no-frills dance was the key to the idea that dancing is all that is needed to express our embodied humanity. In this age of distraction, and misdirection, I find real truth in dance and Ones reflects this sentiment.

Minaqua: The development for this premiere work strives to reveal each movers threads, exposing the fragile yet powerful connections that bond us in our humanity. Through fast paced rehearsals, editing and re-unifying transitions, frantic construction of complex phrase work, and tedious disjointed movement exploration, I give you “All Being(s) Thread.” The thread referred to in this work is the most overlooked human connection: veins. Although veins might be easier to see on some, it can be difficult on others.  11694890_827084500720016_399569044338881389_n

Blythe: I am so excited to be sharing “Ordo Vivendi III” with Cecily Freeman Holcombe again. This piece is a woman’s crusade for power, for strength, for confidence. A solo female dancer embodies her turmoil within, as she battles the weight of internal and external oppressors. Ordo Vivendi (with life) is set to the somber music of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2 E minor Op.67 Largo and premiered at the San Diego International Fringe Festival in Propulsion by Blythe Barton Dance in collaboration with the Neave Trio and was awarded “Outstanding Dance Production.”

ENTER-action hits LIVE ARTS FEST 2017 on April 22nd with two shows: 5:30pm & 7:30pm. We’re ready to share all of these great live arts performances with you- don’t miss out! Join us for a couple of shows, or the whole festival: tickets are available here.

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LAF 2017- Sadie Weinberg & Heather Glabe

When we asked LIVE ARTS FEST 2017 artists Sadie Weinberg and Heather Glabe to share a little bit about their show, Split Bill, they responded with this excellent list of things they are interested in right now with their work. We love it and we think you will too. Check it out and then check out Split Bill on April 19th.

What we are interested in:Sadie_group


1. Sustainability of the creative process for myself and the dancers working with


2. Agency for the performers.

3. Revealing/pushing against expectations of dancers, dances, and bodies.

4. Trusting the mean making potential of bodies moving together through time

     and space.

5. Helping the audience to read the dance.

6. Fun.

7. Movement through space. 


1. Listening to my dancers.

2. Taking myself out of the work as much as possible.

3. Slowing down.

4. Letting the story or the dance develop on its own.

5. Diversity of people, ideas, movement.

6. The through line between improvisation and choreography.

7. Spaciousness.

Also check out this sweet short trailer for the show! LIVE ARTS FEST 2017 is officially one week away! Festival passes are selling fast so get yours today! Want to catch a preview of the performances? Get yourself over to White Box Live Arts this Friday for Friday Night Liberty– LAF 2017 preview performances at 5:30 & 6:30.

Photos (Trio: Ashley Akhavan, Berlin Lovio and Lemoe Mataitusi / Group: Angel Acuña, Ashley Akhavan, Artem’a Davis, Lemoe Mataitusi, Kris Apple)
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LAF 2017: Betzi Roe

Betzi Roe has had an impactful lifelong career that has helped to shape the dance community of San Diego, namely the founding and leadership of the dance program at Coronado School for the Arts. That is why we are glad to be able to share her new work Migration with you all on Friday April 21st for LIVE ARTS FEST 2017. Over her 20 years at CoSA, she has trained countless dancers, many of whom she brings together for this heartfelt dance concert about journeys and homecoming. Read on to find out what inspired Betzi to create this work:

16388335_10155629515718265_9004446664736909768_nI started working on “Migration” when I realized how many of my former students were still local to the San Diego area.  I thought it would be an interesting project to bring as many as possible back together to reflect on where they came from, where they have gone in the past few years, and what they’re doing now.  It was amazing to hear the similarities in their stories; dance and the arts in general are both still very important aspects of each of their lives, whether they are pursuing a dance career directly or not.  For many, the process was nostalgic in the sense that it brought back memories of as we rehearsed in the studio they had previously spent so much time in.  Working together with familiar faces was reminiscent of the time we spent together many years ago.  Funny enough, and despite the years of maturing and evolving since graduating, many dancers fell into their old “roles” from their earlier CoSA days: the leader, the chatty one, the person on their phone all the time, the one making everyone laugh, the quiet one, etc.  Although at times frustrating, it was truly amazing to witness this!

16473382_10155655761258265_732907611123137667_nThis performance with LiveArts Fest will be the third version of “Migration.”  Previously we’ve performed at The Vine and the Coronado High School Theater.  Each time we’ve shifted the choreography to reflect the ever-changing cast members.  Throughout each installation we’ve seen dancers from all over the country, from New York to Arizona, and of many different talents, including circus, ballet, pilates, etc.  The end result is something really beautiful.  “Migration” includes dancers of varying ages, abilities, backgrounds, stories, and pathways.  It brings them together in one space, for one hour, to reflect and share who they are and where they’ve been.


LIVE ARTS FEST 2017 begins next week! Get your festival pass and get ready for 9 evenings of thoughtful and though provoking art.


Photos by Manuel Rotenberg
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LAF 2017: Erica Buechner & Lara Segura

The theme for LIVE ARTS FEST 2017 is “Think about it. Dance about it.” We figured there was no better way to open the festival on April 12th than with an evening of dance that will get you thinking about women! Local choreographers Erica Buechner and Lara Segura have teamed up to create SHE which aims to do just that. Erica shared some thoughts with us about their inspiration for the work:

She MarketingThe idea for SHE was partially inspired by Monica Bill Barnes! I was doing lighting at the White Box for her show the last time she was in town, and I was inspired by the way that she and Anna Bass worked together. There was so much comfort, joy, hard work, trust, risk, and friendship. I thought to myself, “Wow! I’d like to experience that in the creative process and on stage.” I knew I could find that relationship with Lara Segura. Having performed with her for so many years, being close friends, respecting her creative process, and feeling as though we can mind-meld, it was a natural fit. The idea for the piece itself came about because I am always so fascinated by the complex relationship between “woman” and “society”; “woman” and “representation”; “woman” and “work”; “woman” and “costume”; “woman” and “woman”. We decided it was important to use music that had been created by women, especially women that were pushing the envelope. Ethel Smyth was a member of the women’s suffrage movement. Evelyn Glennie is a world famous deaf percussionist. Ani DiFranco is a feminist icon. We also wanted to incorporate iconic, fictional women that inspire us, such as Rosie the Riveter and Thelma and Louise. It has been great fun defining this work; following a process of discovery as we have been creating it. I don’t think we fully understand it, but that is where I prefer to be as an artist. I don’t want to give answers, but provide questions.
At first, when Jean Isaacs asked me to be a part of LIVE ARTS FEST and specifically mentioned that she liked the evening-length format of my previous work, The Dying Swan: Revisited and Re-envisioned, I thought, “I’m not sure I have another evening-length idea in me!” But as Lara and I began working, we came up with so many ideas that were potential sections of the work. As music was found and ideas were explored, we quickly realized that we had plenty of material to work with. The process of creating this piece has been amazing. There is so much ease because we trust each other. There is so much laughter because we are willing to take risks and try ridiculous ideas. There is so much dedication because we believe in what we are doing.
LIVE ARTS FEST 2017 kicks off on April 12th. Get your tickets now!

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LAF 2017- Holding the Line by SDDT Work Study Dancers

Part of the mission of San Diego Dance Theater that comes to life so brilliantly in LIVE ARTS FEST is to provide a platform for an ever-growing diversity of dance in the San Diego region. Part of that platform is to offer opportunities for up-and-coming choreographers to showcase their work. In that spirit, we have an evening in LAF 2017 made up of dances choreographed by the dedicated and talented dancers of the SDDT Work Study program entitled Holding the Line. These seven Work Study dancers train in our school, but also perform and create throughout San Diego in different arenas and have a show full of exciting and fresh ideas to share with you all. A couple of the choreographers have shared a little about the intention for Holding the Line so that you can get a feel for what you’ll see on at the show on April 13th!

The phrase “Holding the Line” is taken from the preface of Alice Walker’s book, Hard Times Require Furious Dancing. Walker writes, “though we have encountered our share of grief and troubles on this earth, we can still hold the line of beauty, form, and beat. No small accomplishment in a world as challenging as this one.”

Holding the Line_April 13_UnknownMitchum Todd: When asked, how do our bodies move in response to heartbreak, loss, or injustice and or what movements—kinetic and social—do we make to “hold the line”? My response is to do what we must be do and that is to “make sense of and speak back to the personal hardships, social strife’s, and political upheavals we find ourselves in,” through co-creating with a movement of “stillness.” Inevitably instilling a sense of calm.
Holding the Line embraces a space where one can witness what is unfolding with what is true. It is a movement, a welcoming to see who we are as the asleep parts of us unfold as a new flower. As we unfold more and more like a new flower; more and more, we become appealing.
There are three essential questions being addressed in “be still.” What is it that I need to let go of? What is it that this day will bring forth? And the third, “When I sit, I sit with the intention to find the truth.” What do you sit for?
“In “be still” while experiencing stillness, we are able to slow down and let go. There is a magnificent power in letting go of what could be, for it is then we can accept what is. Somewhere between the thoughts of what could be and what is, there is usually a solution waiting to be birthed. Our greatest understandings come from stillness.”

Check out a short video of BE STILL here!

Sandra Ruiz: Each dance in this program is very unique from one another because each choreographer is reaching out from a very personal and peculiar perspective about how to Hold the Line in times of hardship. Each of the choreographers in the show comes from a very distinct dance education and practice. For this reason each one of us reveals a different scheme of choreographic concept, form and intention. The complexity of our individual perspectives has allowed us to transform our singular voices into one.  Each dance originates from a different drive, yet they bleed into one another.

Support new work by fresh art-makers, and get your festival pass so you don’t miss all of this live art goodness!

LIVE ARTS FEST 2017: April 12-23

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LAF 2017: Anna Katharina Scheidegger and San Diego Dance Theater

12512599_904984402950194_379438928446302195_nLIVE ARTS FEST 2017, showcases artworks that meet issues of the human experience with boldness and thoughtfulness. Two of the LAF 2017 events attend to the hot topic of global warming: Enthalpy of Fusion by Anna Katharina Scheidegger on April 15th, and the San Diego Dance Theater production of Requiem for an Ocean which closes the festival on April 23rd. Requiem for an Ocean premiered in January 2016, and we are pleased to bring this climate change dance back to White Box Live Arts for an intimate showing that will compliment the stunning visual work of Anna Katharina’s multimedia performance. Read on to learn about her personal experience with global warming that has manifested into Enthalpy of Fusion:

I grew up in Switzerland and we used to spend a lot of weekends hiking with family. I feel close to the landscape of the mountains and it is strong to hear from my parents how high the ice was when they were children- how fast the glaciers are disappearing. The climate changes is one of the big challenges of our time. In the Swiss Alps, the glaciers are an important reservoir of water. For example, the ice of the glacier of Aletsch could provide one bottle of water a day to every human of the earth for eight years…  But those glaciers are losing one percent of their mass every year and, even supposing no acceleration in that rate, will have all but disappeared by the end of the century.
Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 21.39.37The melting of the glaciers is very visual and impressive. You can see in the landscape the lines of the level of the ice just a few years ago. Also, the fact that that due to the rapid retreat, some shrinking pars are carefully covers by giant fleeces in effort to reduce the summer melt, is for me a very strong symbol of our struggles. It’s the image of a “sick” nature.

Enthalpy of Fusion mixes video projections, performance with ice blocks, an original sound score from Steve Baker and ice sculptures. There will also be a talk back with myself and meteorologist Alexander Sasha Gershunov after the performance to offer some time for discussion both on a scientific and artistic level.

Enthalpy of Fusion_April 15_Anna Katharina Scheidegger 3I hope the audience will leave the experience with a feeling of awareness but also hope. The performance shows the destruction of nature by man and the consequences for our existence. The video projections follow the performance with images of nature, of the glacier, later with images of human bodies made out of ice who are melting. It underlines our fragility and dependence from nature. The ice sculptures (cast of my body) mark the beginning and end of the performance and stand for the cycle of time. The inspiration for the ice bodies are the mythologies of the “poor souls” from Switzerland. In those tales people, who didn’t treated nature well, have to be pay their sins in the ice, after death. The ice body that appears at the end is filled with flowers and points to a new start.

For a chance to catch both of these striking works about climate change, as well as many other dances that will make you think, reserve your LIVE ARTS FEST 2017 festival pass now!

Requiem for an Ocean photo by Jim Carmody
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LAF 2017- Daniel Diaz

Today we want to share a little bit about LIVE ARTS FEST 2017 artist, Daniel Diaz. He was the recipient of the Grand Prize at Young Choreographers Showcase and Prize 2016, which for the first time included a night in LIVE ARTS FEST in the following year. We are looking forward to seeing how Daniel has grown as an artist over the last year, an12832580_938626739585960_24272536162882074_nd think you should check out what he has to say about the journey:

The past year has been a whirlwind, both personally and as an artist. I am very influenced to create work that pulls from personal experience. “Heart-Driven” is based on that. I am very lucky to say that since my Young Choreographers win, I’ve been creating more and producing more work than ever. I’ve been working a lot in Orange County and LA- teaching classes, setting pieces, and evolving my style as a choreographer. I’ve been very involved in the community. As artists, we never stop evolving.
I love to always show a new side of myself through my work-showing the same thing would be boring to me.image3“Heart-Driven” is about stories, but most importantly, it’s about the stories dear and close to my heart. I’m a very emotional person, and this is a very emotional show! I’m excited to share all my stories but I’m also nervous! I’m basically putting myself out there for the world to see, in an artistic way, and that is one of the most vulnerable things I have ever done. Some of the stories I will share in this show are stories I have kept to myself for years. It will be exciting to see how the audience reacts.

I hope the audience comes into “Heart-Driven” vulnerable, with an open mind, and leaves reflecting on their own life. I wanted to create a show that is relatable- a show that people can connect with. After all, we’re all human, we all live and breathe and go through similar life events. My show celebrates that.

Catch Heart-Driven on April 14th, 7:30pm, at White Box Live Arts

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