Lake Tahoe is known for many things and arts and culture are quickly becoming one of them. The third annual Lake Tahoe Dance Festival takes to the open-air stage July 22-24 at Tahoe City’s Gatekeeper’s Museum, setting world-class professional dance against the majestic backdrop of the Sierra landscape.
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.”
The program includes 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.
The festival helped launch the Lake Tahoe Dance Collective, which premiered the area’s first full season this year. While the July festival serves as the pinnacle of their four-performance series, the sold-out February and March performances undoubtedly helped establish deeper roots for the collective. The series culminates with the New Chamber Ballet October 15-17.
The Lake Tahoe Dance Festival begins Wednesday evening, 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 in Tahoe City.
The Lake Tahoe Dance Festival is hosted by the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society and is sponsored by Alpenglow Sports. For more information, or to buy tickets, go to www.laketahoedancefestival.org