Wonderland Dance Festival to light up local arts scene
By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt
Attention, dance-lovers: Wonderland is coming!
Named for the amusement park that brought roller coasters, waterslides and a dance pavilion to San Diego 100 years ago, the new Wonderland is a thee-day festival presenting a quartet of hot, hot international dance companies to add spice to the local arts scene.
This grand terpsichorean enterprise has a trio of movers and shakers behind it: Marty Wollesen, artistic director of UCSD’s ArtPower!, Allyson Green, chair of UCSD’s Theatre & Dance Department, and Patrick Stewart, executive director of Sushi, downtown’s go-to spot for performance and visual art.
All three are interested in creating new opportunities for artistic collaborations and developing stronger ties between artists and the community.
How did they decide which companies to invite?
“I’ve been following Kate Weare’s work for years, and Allyson got to know her at Sushi,” said Wollesen. “Kate had a working relationship with Monica (Bill Barnes), who was a Theatre & Dance Department alumna, and Patrick was a longtime fan of Lux Boreal. It turned out that each of us had some relation with each of the artists, so it was really fun to find we were all coming together over the same ones!”
In addition to each company’s individual performance, Bill Barnes and Weare will team up for one program at UCSD. Tijuana-based Lux Boreal will be appearing at Sushi, and Australia’s Chunky Moves will show some of their Next Move — the work of up-and-coming choreographers — at UCSD.
“We wanted to bring guest artists from around the world,” said Green, who was Sushi’s artistic director from 2003-2005 and has her own dance company, which tours widely. “We want to create a concentration of energy here, a place to encourage collaboration. The old definitions of dance, theater, film and visual arts are too narrow. Students today are interested in being hybrid artists, and we’re interested in artists who are crossing those boundaries too.”
Green knows something about crossing boundaries. She’s also a painter and graphic designer who sometimes collaborates with her husband, visual artist Peter Terezakis, on events that combine art, dance, and technology.
According to Wollesen, who champions cutting-edge creative experiences and was one of San Diego Magazine’s “50 People to Watch in 2011,” Wonderland is also initiating a new way of looking at UCSD. “We’re not just a science university, but an arts university, and we’re not just for students, we’re part of the community too.”
“The original Wonderland Amusement Park created a sense of excitement and community, and that’s what we want to do,” said Stewart, who recently returned to San Diego after five years at the helm of a large, multi-purpose arts center in Washington, D.C. “By creating one singular event with different happenings in different places, we hope to bring audiences from all over the county to the campus and downtown.”
“We’re planting a seed here,” added Wollesen. “So we’ll have a future to grow.”
Wonderland promises to be an exciting biennial event, and this is your chance to say you were there at the start.
If you go
What: Wonderland: Festival of International Contemporary Dance Experience
When: March 31–April 2, 2011
Locations: Potiker Theatre & Wagner Studio, UCSD Campus and Sushi: 390 11th Ave, East Village
Tickets/Times: (858) 534-8497 and wonderlanddance.org
• Kate Weare Company (NYC)
Imaginative, sensuous dances that deal with the search for intimacy.
Friday, April 1, 7 PM & Saturday, April 2, 5:30 PM / Potiker Theatre
With Monica Bill Barnes: Thursday, March 31, 7:15 PM / Potiker Theatre
• Lux Boreal Danza Contemporanea (Tijuana)
A mix of northwest Mexican dance styles & language, combining traditional folkloric, religious & mythical references with contemporary dramatic flair.
Friday, April 1, 8 PM & Saturday, April 2, 8 PM / Sushi
• Monica Bill Barnes & Company (NYC)
Quirky choreography that blends humor & humanity & celebrates the thrills & chills of performing. Friday, April 1, 9 PM & Saturday, April 2, 3:30 PM / Potiker Theatre
• Chunky Move (Melbourne, Australia)
Sophisticated mischief that extends the boundaries of dance.
Thursday, March 31, 6 PM, Friday, April 1, 7:30 PM, & Saturday, April 2, 2 PM / Wagner Studio
EXTRAS: Master classes, parties, outdoor lounge, food trucks and live DJs See www.wonderlanddance.org for details.
BE AN ARTS BENEFACTOR
You can ensure that projects like Wonderland continue by making a donation at artpower.ucsd.edu/giving
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