It’s so nice to have good friends you can count on who will surprise you with their generosity.  My friends in the dance world are particularly close to me.  And cherished. We turn to each other to share the passion and the precariousness, the thrills and the angst of the dance world.  We cheer each other’s successes and try to cheer up the recipient of a less than generous review.  Before an important performance, we know to say “merde!” to each other instead of “break a leg.”  We don’t all share the same taste in dance, but we generally all share wide-eyed admiration for the go-for-broke spirit and the talent of great dancers. My dance friends and I celebrate the good times and console each other when the going gets tough.  When the times are good, nothing is more glorious than to have someone who knows intimately just how hard – won the success might be.  When things are more challenging, there’s little explaining required.  They just “get it!”  Bless them all.

Dance writer and author Rachel Howard is such a  dear friend.  I met her 14 years ago, when she was just out of college, working at the SB Independent.  She took great interest in our first season of SUMMERDANCE , and wrote an in- depth article that helped to launch our festival. Since that time she has published a memoir, written articles about dance for the NY Times, Dance magazine, and the SF Examiner.  We have remained good friends, although she hasn’t lived in Santa Barbara for years.  She is one who has always encouraged and supported my efforts.

Last year, wanting to participate and lend a hand, she traveled here to speak at Larry Keigwin‘s Danceworks performances, only to become terribly ill with strep throat. Unfortunately, she was too sick to attend either performance. This year,  she is driving once more from San Francisco to Santa Barbara to give a pre-curtain talk about the work of Doug Elkins.  She’s promised to not get sick.  She’ll be watching the work in rehearsals for a few days and then sharing her insights with audiences.  She’s only able to be here Friday, March 18.  She’ll talk from 7-7:30, in the Lobero Theatre.  All ticket holders are welcome and encouraged to attend!  Here’s to good friends!

Here’s Rachel’s description of the talk she’ll give:  “How did Doug Elkins grow from a freakishly smart club kid and breakdancer into a modern dance choreographer pinned as possibly “the most significant talent since Mark Morris” (New York Times)?  What wild mix of influences might you see in his new twist on Othello, “Mo(or)town Redux”?  Get the scoop Friday from 7-7:30 pm at a pre-performance discussion with dance critic Rachel Howard, a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle and Dance Magazine.  She’ll talk about Elkins’ heady mash-up of movement styles and cultural references, and his deep history with Santa Barbara and the Lobero Theatre.  You’ll leave ready to experience Elkins’ mind-bending brand-new work.”

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