Friday, November 26, 2010

Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center Evening of Tango

The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center’s November 7th kick off event of the “Illuminating An Era of Art Dinner with Berne Davis” concluded with a standing ovation for the quartet of highly talented dancers and musicians. 
“An Evening of Tango”, the first of four Art Dinners, brought food, creative visual artists, dancers and musicians together, creating a wonderful candle lit evening in a regal setting in the historic stately columned building.
The evening opened with a silent auction in the Art Center, featuring works by well collected artists. Will George’s work is well known, and can be seen on line and at his Boca Raton Gallery.
Leoma Lovegrove, with a stunning white dress and sunburst sequined glasses, painted as the silent auction progressed.
 Other artists painted and embellished various “Door of Opportunity" using antique wooden doors as a canvas. Bruce Patch generously brought his Sonoma grown Wine Guerrilla wines for auction and for dining. Yes, the wine is delicious, and is sold at a good price point! Jamie and Jacob Catering supplied the evening’s opening cheese display and passed hors d’oeuvres, as well as the entrée and dessert.
Go and explore the Center’s ground floor. The Art Center’s 23,000 square feet of neoclassical architecture opened in 1933 as the Fort Myers Post Office, ensconced on a full city block.
Berne Davis and her then husband-to-be Sidney were at the 1933 opening! May you live to be as “sharp as a tack” and in as good health as this elegant lady! The unairconditioned building later hosted criminals and lawyers while a courthouse, before being abandoned from 1998 until 2003. Restoration is an ongoing process under the eye of CEO Jim Griffith, a Julliard-trained violist with the Naples Philharmonic. A dynamic renaissance awaits the Center’s 2nd floor, 3rd floor and roof top’s turn. The Center will be a gem; a sophisticated visual and performing arts magnet when complete.
Doors opened at 7 pm to the dining room’s darkness, lit by candles on the black tables ringing the central black stage.

Like a bullfight’s colors, the dancers and pianist wore red, and the violinist was clad in black. An eerie purple light bathed the dancers. The musicians were highlighted by overhead white light.
The tango collaboration melded the talents of two superb dancers with two electrifying musicians.
Dancer Tom Gold performing with his own dance company in Tel Aviv and Havana in the two weeks before th evening. He formerly was a soloist dancer with the New York City Ballet for 21 years. Abi Stafford is currently principal dancer with the New York City Ballet.

It always amazes me to see the power and grace of top ballet dancers in rehearsal, then to see the performance in which their practiced, precise partnering makes all look effortlessly fluid and often gravity defying. Pairing their bodies- their lithe instruments- with the musicians’ instruments, with the beat, never missing a beat, left the audience focused laser-like on their performance. The smaller stage was an artistic challenge that was ably met.

Whether whirling with fouettés en tournant.or leaping in grand jeté, the audience was amazed at the power of the dance interpretation and happy to be so close to the stage. I closed my eyes, and pictured a hundred tangueros regally paired at a Buenos Aires milonga, or tango studio, paced by Astor Piazzolla’s accordion-like bandoneón .
Pianist Maria Asteriadou trained at Julliard and is a faculty member at Manhattan School of Music.
Violinist Kurt Nikkanen debuted at Carnegie Hall at age 12, and travels the world with solo engagements.
 The music chosen was an assortment of pieces, with two different milongas from famed tango musician Piazzolla and pieces from Ravel, Kurt Weill , Micah Young and Waasserman. Bold, passionate and invigorating, the musicians and dancers brought fiery life to each musical bar. To quote the program, “ The violin and piano play for the dancers. The Violin and piano dance a tango with each other. The violin and piano dance with the violinist and the pianist.” Putting the dancer’s ballet talents to the musicians empassioned Argentinian tango music brought down the house with applause.
A ticket to each of the remaining Art Dinners is $175, and to this evening’s audience, was well worth it. What’s to follow?

Wednesday, December 1, will take you to Italy for “An Evening of Opera,” with rising stars from the Juilliard School and wonderful Italian cuisine by Chef and owner Carlo Rao of Mastello’s Restaurant and Touch of Italy.
On Valentine’s Day- February 14, 2011, experience the World Music of percussionist Aiyb Dieng and his Rhythm Band, along with the cuisine of Senegal, prepared by Chefs Eric Truglas and Ruth Cohen of French Bread Oven.

Saturday, May 7, 2011, will be a Kentucky Derby Celebration, with music by an authentic New Orleans Jazz Band and Cajun cuisine by Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Each dinner will begin with a Champagne Reception at 6:00 pm and end with the Silent Auction Finale. (Note: May 7 dinner begins at 5:30 pm.) Tickets are $175 per person, or guests may choose from four levels of sponsorship which include dinner tickets. Terat yourself to a magical evening! Call 333-1933 for reservations at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.

1 comment:

Leoma Lovegrove said...

Yes, it was a stunning evening. One of the best evenings I had ever spent in Downtown Fort Myers.