The new Ballare Carmel dance ensemble brings professional dancers from around the world to Carmel Valley. | Art, theater and culture

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When Lillian Barbeito saw the Hidden Valley Institute of the Arts stage, she heard angels singing. But when the director of the institute, Peter Meckel, showed her the dormitories where the dancers could sleep, Barbeito realized that she had found the place to cultivate the art of dance practiced locally and consumed locally. .

“Never do people come together so much as through dancing,” says Barbeito, seated barefoot outside the building where rehearsals for her new dance company Ballare Carmel have already started, attracting dancers aged 17 to 37. of the whole world. Their shoes are lined up at the entrance; the whole valley listens to Pergolesi Stabat Mater chosen for practice. The dancers do not hesitate to dance with a mask and the organizers do not hesitate to clean the space three times a day. “It’s amazing that people can touch again,” says Barbeito.

Formerly the co-artistic director of Los Angeles-based contemporary dance company BODYTRAFFIC, Barbeito moved to Carmel in August 2021. Since then, she launched the Carmel Dance Festival – the first show was in late July – and will now present Ballare.

Ballare Carmel is a local dance company that will work with dancers from as far away as Canada and Taiwan. Its mission is to bring professional dance to the highest level in the region and present it to the local community. Barbeito wants to involve local dancers, she says, but focuses on local performance. The verb “ballare” means “to dance” in Latin.

Currently, with choreographer Ishan Rustem, born in London and based in Switzerland, the resident choreographer of the NW Dance Project in Portland who has come to train with the 20 dancers selected for this iteration (not all of them will perform), Barbeito is creating a show. for the community on Saturday September 18th.

“He’s everything I ever dreamed of,” Barbeito says of Rustem, adding that she wanted to work with him because of his kindness as an instructor and his ability to empower young dancers from diverse backgrounds. .

“To me, it’s a very simple formula,” says Rustem, giving the dancers a five-minute break (the music going from haunting James Blake to happy Erykah Badu). “Before I was a teacher I was a student and I can remember what worked for me.”

Rustem plans to teach the younger generation about their artistic responsibility. He also believes that trust, vulnerability and openness to information are important when imparting knowledge. “It’s no fun when your teacher is a diva and that’s not the way to get the best out of people,” he says.

BALLARE CARMEL LAUNCH PARTY includes a silent auction at 6:30 p.m. and a preview at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 18. Hidden Valley Theater, 104 W. Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley. $ 25. 659-3115, hiddenvalleymusic.org


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