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Lake Tahoe Dance Collective Ninth Annual Lake Tahoe Dance Festival
July 27 - July 30
Lake Tahoe Dance Collective (LTDC) enters its ninth year of presenting the Lake Tahoe Dance Festival, which will take place this summer from July 27-30, 2021 at 6pm at venues in Tahoe City and Truckee, CA for in-person audiences. The festival has presented over 35 works with more than 25 guest artists and 44 local dancers since 2013. Tickets start at $50 and are available online at laketahoedancecollective.org. The event will also be available via free livestream.
The summer, the Lake Tahoe Dance Festival offers works by Constantine Baecher, Kristina Berger, Erik Wagner, Durante Verzola, Marco Pelle, Jack Blackmon, and Jehbreal Jackson with special guests Holly Curran, Traci Finch, Chris McDaniel, Christin Hanna, Stephen Hanna, and Ashley Bouder.
The festival begins on Wednesday, July 27 with a Gala Opening Night Celebration, where audiences will enjoy the silent auction with food and wine in a catered picnic basket that they get to keep! Dancers return to the stage on July 28, 29 and 30 for the festival’s three Main Stage Performances.
Ticketing is limited and available in socially distanced, two-person pods. Organizers at the Lake Tahoe Dance Collective will provide ticketing in tiered waves due to potential changes in capacity limitations in accordance with guidelines from the California Department of Public Health. COVID safety procedures are available at laketahoedancecollective.org/safety.
“One of things I’m most proud of in my work is to provide opportunities to create new works, and that has always been a pillar of what we do at the festival.” said Christin Hanna, the company’s founder and Artistic Director. “After the year we’ve had, we felt strongly about commissioning as many new works as possible, to breathe life back onto the stage with fresh works from choreographers from a wide range of backgrounds.”
New commission (as-yet-untitled) choreographed by Constantine Baecher
Performed by Holly Curran and Traci Finch
Longtime collaborators Holly Curran, Traci Finch and choreographer Constantine Baecher who had found themselves in different parts of the country reunited for this virtual zoom creation during the time of covid to create a new work inspired by the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay.
Featuring a commissioned score by dancer-turned-composer Ulysse Zangs, this female duo is a testament to the need for creative outlets and perseverance of artistic endeavors in the face of the profound challenges and change we all experienced over the past year and half.
Choreographed and performed by Kristina Berger and Erik Wagner
Finding connectivity inspired purely by Beauty, in a time of isolation, “Tjingeling” is a collaborative meditation on the visual splendor of sunlight reflecting off the water’s surface. This visual phenomenon, this dance of light, was the jumping off point for our choreographic process. The dance, created entirely over Zoom from opposite coasts, is a reflection on hope and ephemeral beauty.
New commission (as-yet-untitled) choreographed by Durante Verzola
Performed by Chris McDaniel
Durante Verzola’s commissioned work for Lake Tahoe Dance Festival features dancer Christopher McDaniel in a 14-minute solo. It is set to selections from Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme. Tchaikovsky is quoted saying, “Do you know what Rococo means?” and answered himself: “It is a carefree feeling of well-being.” Verzola seeks to illuminate this “feeling,” as well as the swells, crescendos, quick tempo changes, romanticism, and style found in the music through McDaniel’s dynamic movement. The process in creating the work began in 2020 over Zoom during quarantine to keep these two artists inspired, and they are both excited to see the ballet make it to the stage.
New commission (as-yet-untitled) choreographed by Marco Pelle
Performed by Christin Hanna and Stephen Hanna
Marco Pelle, who hails from the same hometown as Giuseppe Verdi, choreographs a new piece set to the composer’s music, 120 years after his death. This work is dedicated to the memory of Wilhelm Burmann, the mentor, teacher and coach to both Christin and Stephen Hanna, who passed away in 2020.
New commission (as-yet-untitled) choreographed and performed by Jack Blackmon
Jack Blackmon’s process focuses on crafting big, glorious dancing and then distilling out the intimacy, earnestness, and levity. He likens it to building a cathedral and finding a way to renovate it into a red velvet-curtained jazz bar.
New commission (as-yet-untitled) choreographed by Jehbreal Jackson
Performed by Ashley Bouder
Jehbreal Jackson is working with Ashley Bouder to develop one of the characters for an upcoming feature length cineballet titled The Death of Anima Faven: The Art of Fortune, The Art of Fugue, and the Art of Losing Yourself. The piece tells the story of the relations between the major civilizations of antiquity through to the colonization of America in a present-day context between six friends. The music of Johann Sebastian Bach serves as the score, and also as a formal compositional tool to explore how the concepts of counterpoint, harmony, and dissonance can be used to construct the cognitive inner and outer worlds of the characters.
The Young Dancers Workshop, a three-week intensive from July 7-30, 2021 for dancers ages 10 and up, offers training with festival artists in small class sizes with an emphasis on classical ballet, modern technique and improvisation. Dancers learn a repertory work that is performed in the festival.
Lake Tahoe Dance Festival is made possible in part through support from the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, The Arts Council of Placer County, The North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation and the Tahoe Weekly. Additional support from Rodney Strong Winery, Alpenglow Sports, Plumas Bank, Tahoe City Downtown Association, Trunk Show, Tahoe Marina Lakefront, Za’s Lakefront and Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique.
For more information about the Lake Tahoe Dance Festival, visit: www.laketahoedancecollective.org
About the Artists
Constantine Baecher is a choreographer, dancer, and teacher living in New York, splitting his time between Europe and the US. He is the co-founder and artistic director of Denmark’s Copenhagen International Choreography Competition (CICC) and Artistic Advisor to the Lake Tahoe Dance Festival.
Constantine is an active freelance choreographer having created works for companies such as the Royal Danish Ballet, Cross Connection, and KUNST-STOFF San Francisco among others, and spent 7 seasons as resident choreographer of New Chamber Ballet NYC. From 2003-2012 Constantine performed with the Royal Danish Ballet and Gross Dance, Amsterdam. Currently Constantine tours internationally with the Paris based Carolyn Carlson dance company.
Constantine has received grants from The Danish Arts Council and Wilhelm Hansen Foundation as well as the 2011 Albert Gaubier Award for contribution to dance in Denmark.
Kristina Berger is a principal dancer with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company and a creator of her own work. her professional career ranges from Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus Dancer to First Femail and Westerner to perform the virtuoso solo “Hanuman the Monkey King” in Bali. She has also performed with Lester Horton Dance Theater, Molissa Fenley & Dancers, Joyce Trisler Danscompany, Washington Opera Ballet and the Ballery in Berlin.
Kristina continues to tour and perform professionally while dedicating the majority of her time to the Joan Palladina School of Dance at Dean College where she holds a full time faculty position as Assistant Professor of Dance, teaching both Horton and Hawkins Techniques.
Jack Blackmon is a dancer and choreographer born and raised in Tahoe City, California. He received his early training at Tahoe Dance School and Innerrhythms Dance Theatre. Jack attended NYU Tisch School of the Arts before working for contemporary choreographers throughout New York City including Sean Curran, Paul Singh, Larry Keigwin, Emily Schoen, Nicole Wolcott, Jordan Lloyd, among others. He also has toured his own choreographic work with collaborator Charlotte Settle to the Austin Dance Festival, Dance Gallery Festival (Houston & New York), Crossing Boundaries at Dixon Place, and WestFest Dance Festival. He joined the cast of Punchdrunk’s “Sleep No More” in New York, and performed several roles for nearly two years before the pandemic. He is thrilled to return to Lake Tahoe to premiere a new work at the Lake Tahoe Dance Festival.
Ashley Bouder was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and began her ballet training at the age of six at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet with Marcia Dale Weary. After attending the 1999 Summer Program at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, she was invited by SAB to continue her training during the Winter Session. Ms. Bouder was named an apprentice with New York City Ballet in June 2000 and became a member of the corps de ballet that October. She was promoted to the rank of soloist in February 2004, and in January 2005, Ms. Bouder was promoted to principal dancer.
Ms. Bouder has danced in ballet galas around the world and guest starred in companies including the Paris Opera Ballet, Rome Opera Ballet, and the Mariinsky Ballet. She has been awarde Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise at the School of American Ballet as a student. As a professional her awards include the Janice Levin Honoree from the New York City Ballet, the Miss Expressivity for 2011 and the Miss Virtuosity for 2013 from the Dance Open Gala, and a 2014 Benois de la Danse nomination.
Beginning her teacher training in her teens at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB), Ms. Bouder has taught at the summer programs of the School of American Ballet (SAB), Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive (SSDI), Manhattan Youth Ballet (MYB), Carolina Ballet School, and the CPYB. She continues to be a frequent guest teacher at Ballet Academy East, MYB, and SAB, while guest teaching and holding master classes around the country, including the Boston Ballet School and Princeton University.
As a choreographer, using the arts collaborative she founded, The Ashley Bouder Project as an outlet for her work, Ms. Bouder hopes to promote other female choreographers, while also setting an example for women to be more forward and prominent in the creation and directorial sides of the arts world. Her previous work has been presented at the School of American Ballet Choreographic Workshop, the New York City Ballet in the Dancer’s Choice Program, the Ashley Bouder Project at New York’s Peter Norton Symphony Space, and at Bryant Park Presents.
Holly Curran is a performer currently residing bi-coastally between New York and Southern Oregon. A native of New Jersey, she trained at and graduated from the Rock School of Dance Education. She has danced professionally with Ballet Austin, Terra Firma Dance Theater, Claudia Schreier and Company, New Chamber Ballet, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago among others. She is currently a member of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. Simultaneous with her dance career, Holly studied American History at Columbia University, where she graduated Cum Laude in 2018.
Traci Finch recently relocated to San Francisco after living in New York City for ten years and is now Assistant Director at Mannakin Dance Theater and Dance. She has danced with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, specifically the notable Forever Balanchine: Farewell performances at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House; Les Grands Ballet Canadiens; New Chamber Ballet and CellPointe. Recent projects include Merce Cunningham’s Cross Currents, Inventions, Locale and Fractions; in Mannakin Theater and Dance’s production of the Nutshell!; and in Constantine Baecher’s works at the Lake Tahoe Dance Festival and Shillim Foundation.
Traci has presented her choreography with Artists by Any Other Name as South Oxford Space in Brooklyn, NY and LeFrak Concert Hall and The Secret Theater in Queens, NY. Her choreography has also been presented in Seattle at the Corridor Music Festival, presented by Elevator.
Stephen Hanna was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He entered the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, in the fall of 1992. Mr. Hanna became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in 1997, and later that year he joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet. Mr. Hanna was promoted to the rank of soloist in February 2004, and in January 2005, he was promoted to principal dancer. In 2008, Stephen appeared in the original Broadway cast of Billy Elliott the musical, and since appeared in On The Town, An American in Paris, and most recently Hello, Dolly! on Broadway, as well as in The Piano Upstairs with Alessandra Ferri.
Jehbreal Jackson is an artist and scholar who writes, choreographs, and directs story ballets for film while studying the intersections of cognition, choreography, William Shakespeare and the Moors of antiquity through the Renaissance. He is also a vocalist featured on Samora Pinderhughes’ Transformations Suite album after having also performed with Jon Batiste and Kris Bowers. Jehbreal received a BFA in dance from The Juilliard School, an MFA in dance from UC Irvine, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theater at Columbia University.
Christopher Charles McDaniel is a multifaceted artist originally from East Harlem, NYC. He is a dancer, singer, actor, teacher, choreographer, and published author. He began his ballet training at the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) School at age 10 and continued his training at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, Boston Ballet, and Ballet Academy East. Christopher began his career touring with the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble for three seasons, then joined Los Angeles Ballet for five seasons. Christopher’s teaching experience includes serving on the faculty for Los Angeles Ballet School, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Debbie Allen Dance Academy, the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Ballet Academy East, Ballet Conservatory of South Texas, San Antonio Ballet School, and the Connally’s Dance Workshop. He was also a 16/17 National Visiting Fellow for the School of American Ballet’s Diversity and Inclusion Program. Since returning to the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 2017, Christopher has performed leading roles, taught master classes, and managed the company’s social media platforms. Now in his fourth season with the company, he has traveled to Lithuania, Poland, Hungary and Brazil bringing DTH’s message of hope, access, and excellence.
Marco Pelle was born in Vicenza, Italy, and began his dance training in his hometown, continued in Monaco at the Academie de Danse Classique Princess Grace before moving to New York City to study under merit scholarship with famous American choreographer, Merce Cunningham. As a choreographer, he was introduced to the opera world by MOT Founder and Artistic Director David Di Chiera and presented his early works at numerous dance festivals. He began collaborating with New York Theatre Ballet in 2002. He created several works for the company, among which Solitude, Spaces, and Endless Possibilities of Being were all composed by his brother Federico Pelle. He has choreographed for several ballet stars including Roberto Bolle, Polina Semionova, Letizia Giuliani, and Isabelle Ciaravola. Mr. Pelle collaborated with Alessandra Ferri on her comeback show The Piano Upstairs, presented at the Spoleto Festival. In 2013 Mr. Pelle received the SAIE National Award in Italy for his contribution to the arts. In the same year he choreographed Passage, a short movie which opened at the Venice Film Festival, directed by Fabrizio Ferri and starring Roberto Bolle and Polina Semionova. In 2014 he created a theater version of Passage which has toured all over Europe and premiered in the USA in July 2015. His work Libera! has been performed by New York Theatre Ballet. In 2015, Paris Opera Ballet étoile Isabelle Ciaravola performed his work Esprit Libéré in several European festivals. Marco Pelle is the recipient of the 2016 Primi Dieci USA Award, under the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Durante Verzola has choreographed works for Miami City Ballet, Joffrey Studio Company, Pennsylvania Ballet II, Ballet Dallas, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Miami City Ballet School, Columbia Ballet Collaborative, Goucher College, School of Pennsylvania Ballet, Peabody Dance, Princeton University Ballet, and Ballet Chicago. His work has been described as “sharp and witty… so vibrant it is almost like a celebration of classicism and vitality with non-derivative balletic language… he continues to present classical ballet vocabulary in unfussy, thrilling ways,” by Philadelphia Dance. The Philadelphia Dance Journal praised him as “a choreographer on the rise, with a gift for designing space and succeeds at directing moving bodies [with] a sophisticated blend of theatrical flair and carefully crafted movements,” and Explore Dance wrote, “For a 20-something choreographer, Verzola startled with his inventiveness via straightforward balletics.” Verzola is from Lansing, Kansas. He began his training with Marisa Paull and continued at the Kansas City Ballet School and Kansas School of Classical Ballet. At 16, he left home to train with the Miami City Ballet School and attended summer courses at the School of American Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and CPYB. He danced with Pennsylvania Ballet II and The Suzanne Farrell Ballet in works by Balanchine, Robbins, Wheeldon, Keigwin, and Petipa.
Erik Wagner is a San Francisco based teacher, choreographer, performer and movement consultant. His early performing career with the San Francisco Ballet, Béjart Ballet Lausanne, and the Stadttheater Bern Ballet lay an eclectic foundation upon which his artistic practices are built. He has created work for the University of South Florida, Joe Goode Feedback, The News: Fresh Queer Performance, West Wave Dance Festival, Kunst-Stoff, Lake Tahoe Dance Collective, and the Lines Ballet Training Program where he is a faculty member since 2012. Other teaching credits include Stanford University, Wayne McGregor Random Dance, Les Ballet Jazz du Montreal, Basel Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and internationally with ProART Festival in Prague, and Physical Days Bern, in Switzerland.
About the Lake Tahoe Dance Collective
The Lake Tahoe Dance Collective’s mission is to promote classical, modern and contemporary dance of the finest quality in the Lake Tahoe area through performance, education and outreach, enriching the community as a whole and as a cultural destination.
About Artistic Director Christin Hanna
Christin Hanna trained with Margaret Banks at Nevada Festival Ballet and performed in the company’s productions throughout her young life, continuing her studies at the Joffrey Ballet School and American Ballet Theater summer sessions in New York City. Ms. Hanna enjoyed a busy freelance career, performing with Oakland Ballet, Ballet NY, and Cincinnati Ballet, and was a founding member of New Chamber Ballet. During her time there, she initiated a performance and summer workshop with area students in her hometown of Tahoe City in 2006. Since her return to Tahoe in 2008, Hanna has produced over fifteen performances featuring over 50 works with more than 20 guest artists. She has staged works created on her at NCB as well as classics like Giselle, in addition to choreographing and serving as rehearsal assistant to visiting guest choreographers. She and longtime friend Constantine Baecher started the Lake Tahoe Dance Festival in 2013 and continue to collaborate on programming and artistic vision for Lake Tahoe Dance Collective.