Here’s a little secret — you don’t need to have knowledge of dance or dance history to apprecaite an evening on the shores of Lake Tahoe, among the picturesque alpenglow, enjoying a picnic dinner and watching the Lake Tahoe Dance Festival.
The festival, put on by the Tahoe City-based nonprofit Lake Tahoe Dance Collective, is in its fourth year and located at the Gatekeeper’s Museum. This year, the three-days-worth of performances include a little something for everyone. “We want to not only honor the past, but also show what is being created today, and how,” Christin Hanna, LTDC’s Artistic Director, said. “Lots of people who haven’t seen dance, or have seen very little, will be exposed to a nice variety of things.”
Hanna, who grew up in Tahoe, danced professionally in New York City before returning home to start the dance collective. It is her connections to this world of dance, coupled with the desire to dance among the beauty of Tahoe, that brings these performances to our small hamlet each year.
“We have our eye on the community and local dancers, but we also have respect on a national level,” Hanna said as to how they are able to bring these stellar acts to a place that isn’t typically known for its dance culture.
This summer’s performances — of which there are six total — include four performances by leading professional dancers, including contemporary new works by Christian Burns and Constantine Baecher, an excerpt from Swan Lake, a selection from Agathlon by midcentury choreographer Erick Hawkins, and two workshop pieces performed by Tahoe youth dancers.
Each show, lasting two total hours with an intermission, will begin or be followed by an audience Q&A in which Hanna and the dancers will take questions.
The young dancer workshop is another unique program in which students work, for three weeks leading up to the show, on a piece to perform. A sort of dance summer camp, participants meet five days a week for three weeks to practice ballet, improve, and rehearse the festival’s performance.
The festival’s first night is host to an opening gala catered by The Crest Café and Catering and a silent auction from Trunk Show along with the six performances.
“It would be great to eventually grow into a three-week festival,” Hanna said as to where she sees the festival going in the future, but for now, she is concentrating on continuing to grow the vitality of the Tahoe dance scene.