When the Sacramento Ballet laid off its dancers three weeks early and canceled its popular “Beer and Ballet” performances because of an operating budget shortfall earlier this month, it appeared the dancers had been left flat-footed.
But no. These troupers quickly formed an independent company — the Capital Dance Project — to dance on. Their efforts will be presented Saturday, May 30, at the Crest Theatre, in “Behind the Barre: A Locally Crafted Event,” which will include live music, art and, of course, beer and ballet.
“We were sad to not be able to put on ‘Beer and Ballet’ – sad for us and for the public,” dancer Alexandra Cunningham said in the midst of rehearsals for Saturday’s performance.
The dance project’s web page, Launch of the Capital Dance Project (a crowdrise fund-raising site), states: “It has been a longtime dream of the Sacramento Ballet dancers to form an independent summer dance project, and recent events have catapulted this dream into a reality.”
“We are working to elevate the spirit of the community through the performing arts,” the dancers say. “The Capital Dance Project represents the fulfillment of their shared dream of creating a dancer-run company to keep Sacramento audiences inspired by dance through the summer season.”
Sacramento Ballet Company dancers usually have three months off between the contract end of one season and the beginning of the next.
“A lot of the dancers have summer gigs lined up for this year,” dancer Stefan Calka said. “So, for this season, it will be just this project. But hopefully, in the future, it will be possible that we can offer a supplemental summer dance contract.”
“Behind the Barre,” which will consist of about a dozen dancer-created works already made for ‘Beer and Ballet’,” is co-sponsored by Clay Nutting’s Concerts 4 Charity and New Helvetia Brewing Co. The dance project hopes to raise approximately $25,000 to cover its costs of site rental, rehearsal space, promotion, etc. As of Friday afternoon, it had received just over $16,500. If the group reaches $18,500 in donations by midnight, an anonymous donor has pledged an additional $500 bonus donation.
Dancers will be at Friday evening’s Concerts in the Park at Cesar Chavez Park, dancing and selling tickets to Saturday’s show. To make a donation online, go to crowdrise.com/LaunchCapitalDanceProject.
“Behind the Barre” will be presented Saturday at the Crest Theatre, 1013 K St. Doors open at 1:30, with a cash bar, live music and local art. The dance performance will begin at 3 pm. General admission is $25. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to capitaldanceproject.org.