For Chautauqua Dance’s first Cocktails, Concerts & Conversations, host Sasha Janes is taking some time just to talk.
“We’ll be light on the dancing,” said Janes, Chautauqua Dance’s Artistic Advisor. “It will be more about the conversation.”
Janes will be appearing live in conversation with School of Dance alumni Angelica Generosa and Pete Leo Walker, as well as Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Dylan Wald and Kelly Sneddon, formerly of Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York.
Cocktails, Concerts & Conversations with Chautauqua Dance will air at 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 30, on the CHQ Assembly Virtual Porch.
For the dance portion of the evening, Janes will screen a pre-recorded segment of Walker and Sneddon performing a pas de deux choreographed by Complexions co-founder and artistic director Dwight Rhoden.
“Dwight was kind enough to let us use the piece,” Janes said. “(Walker and Sneddon) have been learning and rehearsing that and putting it together for us.”
Generosa and Wald had hoped to record a piece for the night as well, but faced COVID-19-related complications finding a rehearsal space and being able to safely perform together. Janes will play a clip of the two dancing with the Pacific Northwest Ballet.
The rest of the night will be a discussion about the different ways dancers and their companies across the country have reacted to the global pandemic, followed by an opportunity for audience participation.
“The big conversation is going to be about what we’re all going through right now as dancers,” Janes said. “Some of these ballet companies don’t have nice endowments, so if the companies aren’t making money, then the dancers aren’t getting paid. We’re in a pretty tense time at the moment.”
He also plans to touch on the new opportunities that have come out of the pandemic, such as the increase in online, accessible dance classes offered by dancers like Tiler Peck, the New York City Ballet’s principal dancer.
“I’ve been able to take a class with Tiler Peck every day,” Janes said. “How great is that?”
Janes hopes to continue this mix of discussion and dance in Cocktails, Concerts & Conversations for the rest of the season. He has a roster of accomplished dancers from around the country to help him out.
“Tune it with an open mind,” he said. “It’s going to be informal, informative and hopefully it’s a little bit of fun.”
This program is made possible by the Moore Fund for Dance.