Breathe in, breathe out: Westside Ballet’s ‘Grace & Grit’ drive-in movie event

Dance · Film
joy womack, for westside ballet

Attention, all dance-deprived! A fun event, with a poignant underpinning, will be a pop-up drive-in movie evening of filmed dance offerings hosted by Westside Ballet in tandem with the Public Policy Institute of Santa Monica College. I like how it puts dance — and the determination to present dance — right at the locus of our community’s healing, joy and coming together.

I’ve attended a few drive-in events, and even my car, bored to tears, has thanked me! It’s a way to get some fresh air, see people, and turn off the Netflix. Despite the considerable constraints placed on the way we are accustomed to socializing, you’ll be able to gab, munch, sip and nibble as you wish … all from the safety of your car. It’s a way to show up for dancers — as dancers have always shown up for us.

The grab-bag program organized and hosted by Westside Ballet features not just its own sturdy troupe (dancing no less than Balanchine’s “Serenade” staged by the great Patricia Neary, the famed ballerina, director, répétiteur for the Balanchine Trust). An additional four companies will show their wares on the big screen: Barak Ballet––a contemporary dance company founded by Westside Ballet alumna Melissa Barak,  Santa Monica College’s diverse dance companies Global Motion and Synapse, and the exuberant Ballet Folklórico Flor de Mayo.

Joy Womack, trained by the school’s founder, former New York City Ballet principal dancer Yvonne Mounsey (1919-2012), will share her own special pandemic burst of self-expression. The renowned dancer stepped out of her car on a recent road trip and blazed through the opening of her fiery Don Quixote solo, in an open field. That film footage will segue to an on-stage version that we enjoyed at the Westside’s 2019 Centennial Gala.

Barak Ballet’s “Breathe In” was born of a stage production entitled Memoryhouse, created to symbolize Barak’s partnership with the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. Ms. Barak, an Westside alumna, former New York City Ballet dancer/ choreographer, explains: “Breathe Inreveals movement as an expression of freedom, and the longing for better days.”

Grace & Grit’ | Westside Ballet Covid-campaign drive-in movie event | Oct 9 & 10, two screenings each night | tickets

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