7:30 pm

Friday and Saturday, June 11 and 12


Lensic Performing Arts Center

211 W. San Francisco St.


By Intern Ramón A Lovato

If you can make it past the hors d'oeuvres table, Moving People Dance's new studio is rather impressive. Half of the buildings on this part of Pacheco Street are dusty cinderblock warehouses, which was probably the case with MPD's until the interior was renovated into a modern (and surprisingly intimate) dance space. It is here that Moving People Dance gave an early preview of its upcoming Dance Festival.

“Moving People has a vision,” says executive director Leyla Amis, “to create the Santa Fe Opera of dance.” To further this goal, the company also has a new business model: profit sharing. “We want the dancers to be invested in the company,” says Leyla.

But the scope of this vision reaches beyond a system of investment and return for members of the company. A preview of the season plans over the next three years shows a steep but steady rise—adding more performances, resources, and tour dates with each subsequent season—including a two-week invitational tour of Spain after the local business is concluded.

“We think Santa Fe is a great opportunity for exhibition of all sorts of art,” says board of directors president Larry Goldstone. “We have made a commitment to professional dance based in Santa Fe.”

This commitment shows. The three pieces in the demonstration are all at varying levels of development, yet despite the black leotards and incomplete costumes, the dancers manage to exhibit all the professionalism and polish we've come to expect of the company.

Artistic director Curtis Uhlemann's piece is  jazzy and fun, set to music by Pat Metheny, full of musical and movement themes that build on each other with increasing complexity. Choreographer Robert Moses' piece, set to a kind of industrial techno, incorporates classical ballet movements and styling with elements of modern black-box theater.

The second piece in the program is an excerpt from a three-part suite by choreographer Gail Gilbert about restlessness, tentatively entitled “Stirring” and set to Igor Stravinsky's “The Song of the Nightingale.” The dancers have only had one day to work on this piece so far, yet despite the incompleteness of the work, the emotion and control are already present.

“This is the best I've ever seen the company,” Gilbert tells SFR. Gilbert, a Las Vegas-based freelance choreographer, former artistic director of the Taos Dance Festival, and comedic actress with Cirque du Soleil first became involved with MPD over 10 years ago and has since been commissioned to choreograph for numerous performances. “I love coming to the intensive,” she says. “The focus is very strong. There's a lot of power in having dancers moving in unison.”

“Moving People is on a path,” Goldstone says. We look forward to seeing where that path takes this company.