Dance

‘Desert, Dust, and Dancers’

Encore of Ballet Taos production to be staged to raise funds for next big show

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Taos Mesa Brewing is the latest venue to showcase Ballet Taos, which exploded onto the Taos art scene barely one year ago.  And in that short time, the school and its troupe of dancers have captured the hearts of the community with their disciplined, creative movements and the pure joy shining through their craft.

On Monday (Nov. 27) from 7-10 p.m., the Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership will become the stage upon which Ballet Taos will perform its show entitled, “Desert, Dust, and Dancers,” featuring new contemporary works and a repertoire of choreography from its acclaimed piece, “Mechanical Nature: Movement VII.” 

Following the live dance performance, DJ Oliver will be spinning tunes for your own dance moves.

The evening will also feature a silent auction of Jack Mitchell’s captivating photography starring the students at school, in rehearsal, and on the stage.  “The photographs are candid and very authentic in capturing our dancers in their element,”  Megan Yackovich, founder and Director of Ballet Taos, said.  For a preview of these gorgeous works, follow the link at www.ballettaos.com.

Tickets for the family-friendly show are $20 at the door, or may be reserved at www.holdmyticket.com.

As with each Ballet Taos event, all proceeds go to supporting scholarships for worthy students, the creation of new performance works, and the success and sustainability of Ballet Taos, according to Yackovich. And, to help produce its next big endeavor, "A New Mexico Nutcracker," which will begin an eight-show run starting Dec. 16 at the Taos Community Auditorium.

“Mechanical Nature: Movement VII” was first performed at the Taos Community Auditorium in May of this year, “The extraordinary thing about this work is that it was choreographed collaboratively with the students,” said Yackovich.  “It depicts many of their concerns about the environment, climate change, political upheaval, the rights of us all.”

C.J. Bernal, Creative Director of Ballet Taos, arranged a recomposition of Vivaldi’s iconic “The Four Seasons” for the dance, and expressed both his and Yackovich’s pleasure with the results.  “The students were very into sharing their emotions and, in the end, we created a ballet that is a voice both of and for young people,” a sophisticated production that is beautiful, profound, and personal.

Yackovich and Bernal met several years ago at a collaboration of artists from northern New Mexico, but it was not until 2016 that the dance school was established.  Together, they brought decades of training and experience to the table: she as a professional classical ballet dancer, most recently as a teacher, and he as a contemporary and modern dancer.

“We realized there was no availability of professional dance exposure in Taos for students, and literally built this school from scratch,” they said, including the studio in which practice and lessons take place. “We saw the necessity and opportunity to introduce relevant, immaculately produced works of dance to the Taos community.”

Of the curriculum and students themselves, Yackovich said, “To consider dance as a career takes both passion and dedication.  It’s not just recreation for the students; it’s a lifestyle. They come to the studio right from school, and work well into the evening, and do this every day.”  It’s an important distinction for the community to understand, she believes.

Ballet Taos offers programs in both classical and contemporary disciplines, from beginning levels for ages from four to six years to adult and professional levels.

“Our programs are intensive and focused,” Yackovich continued.  “But if our students truly want to pursue a dancing career, then we’re obligated to provide them with the skills they need to navigate the professional world.”  Ballet Taos coaches their artists to be “technically precise, rhythmically sound, artful and spirited in movement.”  

Bernal agreed.  “It’s an experience of learning about yourself, what your body is capable of doing, and where your ambition can take you,” he said. “By exploring all aspects, and with our individualized attention to each student, we can make them well-rounded and ready to tackle the professional world.”

Beyond dance, Ballet Taos nurtures student creativity, such as with their role in creating this weekend’s choreography--”Something not typically addressed in classical training,” noted Yackovich--but also with elements of design staging.  “An understanding of production intricacies only deepens their professionalism,” another measure of which Ballet Taos is particularly proud.

In its one-year existence, the non-profit school gained wide support from its fellow art community.  “C.J. and I are grateful for every venue that’s given us a stage, for every affiliate who’s supported our mission, and for every donor who has made our scholarship program possible,” Yackovich said.

“And on this Thanksgiving weekend, we are especially grateful to Taos Mesa Brewery for letting us light up their wonderful space with what we hope will be a most enjoyable kickoff of the holiday season.”

The Taos Mesa Brewery Mothership is located at 20 ABC Mesa Road, off U. S. 64 West.  For more information, call (575) 758-1900, or visit www.ballettaos.com.

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