Chimera Dance Theater presents spring dance concert Sunday night
By MARY STEVENS DECKER
Redmond Reporter Reporter
April 16, 2009 · 2:57 PM
Chimera Dance Theater presents its spring dance concert at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 19 at the Carlson Theater, 3000 Landerholm Circle SE in Bellevue. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for dance students, available at the door or from the performers.
Artistic director Sarah Lofgren and her company members are or were dance teachers at a variety of Eastside studios and "needed a new challenge ... an outlet outside of teaching," the Redmond resident explained.
Chimera Dance Theater was formed as a non-profit corporation, "with the mission to create original and accessible movement that will inspire future generations of dancers and educate the community about contemporary dance forms," she noted.
There's often a perception that arts and culture only flourish in major cities. So what are the advantages or disadvantages of running a dance company on this side of Lake Washington?
Lofgren admitted that deciding where to hold a concert can be vexing.
"Do we hold it in the city? Try to draw from the Seattle crowd? Or have it here and draw from our student base? It can be a struggle on the Eastside, it feels like you're divorced from the Seattle scene, but we're trying to change that. There's actually a tremendous amount of dance talent here," she said.
And finding full-time work as a performing artist is a perpetual challenge, she continued, "but we do what we can to make ends meet."
One of Chimera's company members is employed at Microsoft, others have administrative or retail jobs, in addition to teaching or dancing.
"A lot of people are comparing this time to the Great Depression, but during the Depression, the arts actually flourished," Lofgren commented, referring to programs like the WPA (Works Progress Administration). Then and now, "it takes determination and passion, a lot of sacrifices," to succeed as an artist.
But the good news, she said, is that the company members' hundreds of students are invested in seeing their teachers perform and pulling in friends and family.
Tying dance performances to fundraising for local charities is another way to promote awareness of the causes and attract patrons who might not otherwise attend a dance show, said Lofgren.
For example, Chimera has worked with KDC (Kirkland Dance Center) Outreach to benefit domestic violence survivors and low-income school children.
Chimera has also performed at Seattle University and Whitworth University in Spokane.
The company's April 19 concert will consist of two sections. The first is a development of the "Mad Tea Party" first showcased in April 2008, with choreography by Lofgren, Beth Chirilov, Jessica Hamblen-Klepper and Sandra Viall. The spring tea party includes "Wintercress," a dance commissioned by Walrus Productions for their E.P.I.C. festival in June 2008.
Also that evening, Chimera will premiere "Steal Me A Dream," created by Lofgren to the music of Tom Waits.
Along with Lofgren, performers in the spring dance concert are Kathryn Hubbard, Katie Ringland, Krista Smith, Rebecca Sullivan, Sandra Viall, Tukwila Zimmerman and apprentice Alice Madden.
For more information about Chimera Dance Theater, visit www.chimeradance.org or www.myspace.com/chimeradancetheater.Contact Redmond Reporter Reporter Mary Stevens Decker at email@example.com or (425) 867-0353, ext. 5052.