Take a trip with SoMar Dance Works to your ‘happy place’

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

somarSoMar Dance Works will present a fun-filled concert titled “Postcards from Our Happy Place” on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 23, at 2 p.m. at the Dafmark studio theater, 1033 State St. Tickets will only be available at the door; admission is $15 (payable by cash or check only).

Solveig and Mark Santillano are co-founders and directors of the dance company, which is in residence at Mercyhurst University.

They have created the concert as a follow-up to last year’s 20th anniversary celebration, Super SoMar Palooza!

This year’s show title reflects the idea that we, as humans, often deal with unpleasantries in our lives by retreating in our minds to some location that brings joy and/or peace. Postcards are short notes that are sent to family and friends to let them know they are on our minds and in our hearts. The concert invites the audience to leave the stress and toil of their daily grind and escape with SoMar to the beauty and grace of dance.

“In tumultuous times, we all need to take a break, to go to our happy place,” says Mark Santillano. “And what could be happier than a space filled with music and dancing?”

The concert will feature eight dances, including two world premieres. It features “Flax-Golden Tales,” set to the poems of Shel Silverstein, and the outright silliness of “To Get to the Other Side,” set to a collection of songs about chickens. These light-hearted pieces are balanced with a piece inspired by the writings of Li Po titled “Only the Mountain Remains” and a brand-new contemporary pointe piece set to the music of Pat Metheny in the challenging time signature of 22/8. Also on the program is a new rendition of Aaron Copland’s “Rodeo” as you’ve never seen it before.

The concert is sponsored in part by a Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Erie Arts and Culture.

The SoMar company includes Mercyhurst University dance students, alumni and faculty Annelise Browne, Megan Carnuche, Kaitlyn Culp, Caitlin Cummings, Emmaline Devore, Kristen Faraclas, Jenna Fritts, Sydney Gondringer, Shelby Hildebrand, Stacie Preuhs, Danielle Quenneville, Maya Richards, Hanna Schayes, Lucie Shultz, Grace Sinke, Mark Santillano, Solveig Santillano, Jenna Swartz, Jo Theisen and Margaret Vivian.

SoMar Dance Works features the dances of Solveig and Mark Santillano. Serving as co-artistic directors, choreographers, and dancers, Solveig and Mark are seasoned performers who have danced all over the world. Their choreography has been influenced by their association with their former companies, Pilobolus Dance Theatre and MOMIX. Solveig and Mark are also the proud recipients of the inaugural Erie Arts & Culture Artist Fellowship.

SoMar Dance Works made its premiere in 1999 at the Missouri Fine Arts Academy. Since that time, SoMar has performed at the Erie Art Museum, Erie Festival of Dance, the American College Dance Festival, Celebrate Erie, The Brick Church for the Performing Arts in Lovell, Maine, Unitarian Universalists in Community concert, Luther Memorial Concert Series, The Fredonia Opera House, Grand Valley State University, overseas in Gothenburg, Sweden, Austria’s Young! Tanzsommer, and numerous Mercyhurst University programs, where the company is in-residence. More information can be found at somardanceworks.com.

For more information, contact Mark Santillano at 814-824-2176 or by email at somardanceworks@yahoo.com or msantillano@mercyhurst.edu.

PHOTO: (Front to back) Maya Richards, Jenna Swartz, Annalise Browne, and Lucie Shultz