by Steve Desroches
In preparation for the Second Annual Cape Dance Festival the new outer Cape cultural institution is holding a special performance fundraiser featuring dancers from some of the most prestigious companies in America. This Sunday, June 1, principal dancers with the Martha Graham Dance Company, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and ballet soloist Valentina Kozlova will perform to raise money to allow the festival to flourish and grow.
“I’m very excited about the fundraiser,” says Stacey-Jo Marine, who co-founded the Cape Dance Festival last year with Liz Wolff. “It will have a different feel than the festival.”
Like last year, the Cape Dance Festival scheduled for July 26 will feature new works by a variety of dance companies. But the fundraiser will present classic works that may be familiar to dance fans and aficionados. Martha Graham Dance Company soloists Marilya Dashkina Maddux and Lloyd Knight will perform Graham’s Conversation of Lovers, while Patrick Corbin and Michael Trusnovec from the Paul Taylor Dance Company will perform Forever, which Corbin choreographed in 2003. Former New York Ballet star Kozlova is coming out of retirement–for only the second time–to perform a piece choreographed specifically for her by Margo Sappington.
“The pieces chosen for the fundraiser are all classics and they’re accessible,” says Marine. “Conversation of Lovers is one of Martha’s later works. It’s very passionate and very Martha Graham.”
The Cape Dance Festival had its debut last year at the Province Lands Amphitheatre, a fabulous space rarely used with the exception of Provincetown High School graduations. It was a smashing success–so much so that donations came in steadily over the winter and dancers and dance companies contacted Marine and Wolff about coming in the future.
“It’s a beautiful destination and there’s a lot of downtime they get to experience,” says Marine about one of the biggest draws for the dancers coming to Provincetown. “There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of amazing dancers that want to come!”
One of those celebrated dancers is Kozlova. Born in Moscow, Kozlova was trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School and was invited to join the Bolshoi Ballet Company in 1973 and was promoted to principal dancer in 1975. In 1979 she made headlines for something other than her dancing when she defected to the United States while on tour with the Bolshoi. Marine met Kozlova at a party the dancer threw to celebrate the anniversary of her defection. Kozlova enthusiastically accepted the invitation to dance in support of the Cape Dance Festival, agreeing to bring two of her star protégés with her.
“I’m really excited to bring some classical ballet,” says Marine.
Marine and Wolff formed Cape Dance Festival in 2013 with the intention to form community relationships through the enjoyment of dance and dedicated to bringing world-class dance to the residents and visitors of Cape Cod through education, altruism, and performance. Marine has worked in over 35 countries and all 50 states touring with dance and theater companies, including Paul Taylor Dance Company and STOMP. She was CorbinDances’ founding executive director and remained in that position from 2005 – 2011. Marine is currently touring with the Martha Graham Dance Company as their production supervisor and teaches dance production at Marymount Manhattan College. Wolff is a life-long summer resident of the Cape. Originally from Boston, Wolff moved to New York to train with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company and the Paul Taylor Company as a scholarship student, and she danced professionally in New York and Cleveland for 15 years. After retiring from performing, Wolff moved into the film business. Currently she is the co-curator for Dance On Camera, a film festival that features films about dance every year at Lincoln Center.
The Cape Dance Festival has been a labor of love for Marine and Wolff. And that affection for increasing the amount of dance performance on the Cape has been embraced throughout the region.
“The summer program this year will have a different feel with a lot of new work,” says Marine. “Newer work and a fresh vibe.”
The Cape Dance Festival Benefit Performance and Party will be on Sunday, June 1 at 5 p.m. at Wellfleet Preservation Hall, 335 Main St. Tickets are $150 and are available at capedancefestival.com and at wellfleetpreservationhall.org. For more information call 508.349.1800. The Cape Dance Festival itself is scheduled for Saturday, July 26 at 6 p.m. at the Province Lands Amphitheater, 171 Race Point Rd. next to the Province Lands Visitor Center.