“My biggest surprise, though, has been the level of creativity. People are really thinking out of the box, and we love it! For example, suggestions range from setting the ballet in an antique store to one based on the evolution of the Dodo Bird! It’s great how people are embracing that we have no limits.”
When I first started dancing, I studied at a studio in Marin that taught all styles of dance like jazz, modern, Latin American, and ballroom, along with some ballet. It was later, when I went to Marin Ballet, that I began to focus primarily on classical dance. I do think that the variety of my early training helped me be open to different styles and techniques. I also think that the diverse contemporary repertoire I had the pleasure to dance while at Houston Ballet and other classical companies helped me to be a versatile dancer.
For small companies like Diablo Ballet, social media has come into the forefront as a cost-effective vehicle to get audiences involved in the arts in a new and interactive way. In the past, marketing personnel for arts organizations had to navigate the expensive ad formats in print, television, and radio to get their message out. Often, local media would donate print space or airtime as part of their public service commitments, but this tended to be an unpredictable delivery method, dependent on too many variables, including space availability and the personal commitment of individual station managers.
There are a few privileges that come with the role of dance critic. One that is not so obvious, but very gratifying, is watching companies start, develop, and come into their own. If you remain in one locale long enough, you see large companies grow more magisterial, and small ones pop up on the horizon, fall away, or survive and aggregate dancers, repertoire, audiences, endowment, and heft.
Today, because of her experience in such an extensive repertory, Berman is in demand as a regisseur, assisting choreographers in bringing their existing ballets to new audiences. This past month, she has been working with Walnut Creek’s Diablo Ballet, setting Christopher Wheeldon’s Mercurial Manoeuvres, which is part of the Inside the Dancer’s Studio program to be presented Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3.
A great thing about living in the Bay Area is that the local dance world is full of surprises. One day you think you’ve seen pretty much everything there is on offer, and the next you discover something that’s been there for a while but is new to you. It’s kind of like being one of those white cats, some of which tend to be a bit slow on the uptake.
Val Caniparoli is a busy guy these days. In San Francisco alone, he is rehearsing Smuin Ballet’s company premiere of his edgy and challenging Swipe for the company’s spring program and preparing the Diablo Ballet world premiere of Tears from Above. In addition, he is Principal Character Dancer at San […]