It was a coming-out bash for San Diego’s young choreographic talent, and a chance for the different pockets of dance fans to come out and meet each other. Sunday’s Young Choreographers Showcase whirled a sold-out audience through 10 performances of new dance work; check out our photos and story about them.

We’ve followed three choreographers as they came up with their ideas and combated injuries and drama in the weeks before Sunday’s show. One of the three we followed, Melissa Adao, was a runner-up in the competition Sunday and won a $1,000 prize.



The winners of the top prize, Gina Bolles Sorensen and Kyle Sorensen, said it was appropriate for the competition to be at a scientific institute. The crowd loved Kyle Sorensen’s sentiment: He’d heard recently about research suggesting that storytelling is a basic human need alongside food, shelter and love.

Reviewing the showcase for, Kris Eitland raved about the Sorensens’ work, called “left Field”:

left Field is beautifully crafted dance theater. It was first on the program and I was hooked with the first phrase. … Rich text and repetition, seamless transitions and little details, were all part of the magical storytelling.

Also this week as we followed the runup to the showcase, we looked at the process of judging something as slippery as dance and stopped in to rehearsal to find choreographers grappling with injured and absent dancers.

You’re reading the Arts Report, our weekly compilation of the region’s arts and culture news.

In Other News

• The city of San Diego’s four candidates for mayor answered questions in a forum last night about arts and culture, the environment, homelessness and other issues that especially interest the region’s nonprofits. To read more about the night, see recaps at KPBS, the U-T and a roundup of what people were saying on Twitter.

My colleague Scott Lewis was moderating and noted that each of the four pledged “that the arts community could expect the same level of support from the city or more under their leadership.”

I was surprised to hear Carl DeMaio say that he intends to double the funding for the city’s grants to arts and culture groups. A little more than a year ago, he’d said he wants to cut it by 25 percent. I caught up with him on his way out of Balboa Park to clarify.

• Speaking of city funding for arts, El Cajon wants to flatten its central theater and let a developer build a luxury hotel there instead. (U-T)

The newspaper’s editorial board thinks it’s a terrible idea:

So why would a hotel chain want to build on a cramped site in El Cajon that requires an expensive tear-down of the theater and sits atop an underground stream? One answer might be the financing concept proposed. El Cajon taxpayers – not a private company – would put up all the money and take on all the risk.

• Also the end of an era: The Neurosciences Institute auditorium, a favorite venue for arts events for more than 15 years, won’t be available for free use to the region’s arts and culture nonprofits after October.

Neurosciences will be turning over the buildings to its landlords, The Scripps Research Institute, this year. A spokeswoman for Scripps told CityBeat that her institute has to focus on science:

“NSI chose to do that and they took the money from their science mission and gave it to the arts and that was fine, that was their decision,” Rosenberg said. “But biomedical research is our mission and we have to guard our resources.”

The letters page in the U-T has been going off over the Port’s controversial decision to allow a possible bronze reinterpretation of the “Unconditional Surrender” kissing statue to stay on the waterfront.

Wrote Lloyd L. Rochambeau of San Marcos:

“Good riddance to the snobs who would rather have a big pile of seagull droppings (modern art) instead of the kissing statute.”

• Further south, a proposed sculpture at the U.S./Mexico border is called “La Mano de la Paz.” (CityBeat)

It’s an enormous hand making a peace sign:

“The hand would need to be at least 15 feet high and made of galvanized steel wires, welded and wound together in a way that made each finger end in its own unique fingerprint.”

Happening Here

The Big Read: Shades of Poe is a month-long celebration inspiring San Diegans to read Edgar Allan Poe through visual art, performances, music, exhibits, and celebrity appearances. In the first of a series of posts that will run in our community forum on our site, project organizer and actor Walter Ritter says the goal is to inspire people to read literature for the sheer joy of it. There’s a full list of events happening all through April. Check it out.

• A composer and UCSD grad student, Aaron Helgeson, is this week’s featured composer on the Hibari Project. The project is raising money through music for aiding victims of the 2011 earthquake in Japan.

• The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego started a Tumblr with lots of colorful images of pieces in its collection.

• Artist Margaret Noble’s upcoming large installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego pulls from her childhood in City Heights, when she and her mom would cut out paper dolls. She said her biggest goal is to connect the piece to a people who don’t usually go to museums. (U-T)

• Soprano Renee Fleming was here last weekend to perform a concert presented by the San Diego Opera. U-T critic James Chute thought Fleming, who “remains in exceptional voice,” should’ve stuck with her forte, singing opera, rather than adding musical and pop numbers and singing into a microphone.

• The world premiere of a new play based on T.C. Boyle’s “Tortilla Curtain” is on stage now at San Diego Repertory Theatre. Though the novel was written in the era of controversial Prop. 187 in the mid-1990s, Rep artistic director Sam Woodhouse said it’s still relevant:

“Is immigration still one of the major issues in American political life? Such a hot issue that a lot of people don’t even know what to do with it?” Woodhouse said. (KPBS)

• The Museum of Man laid off seven workers and closed its store. The museum’s director, Micah Parzen, said the museum’s been struggling financially for a long time. Parzen, who’s both an anthropologist and an attorney, said he was brought in to “reinvent the museum.” (U-T)

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Kelly Bennett is the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach her directly at or 619.325.0531. Or you can keep up with her on Twitter @kellyrbennett or on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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