Arts Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News Rancho Santa Fe

Dancers defy odds, create their own company

SOLANA BEACH — A fundraiser for dance company The Defiance Project will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 13 at Studio Shu at 742 Genevieve St., Suite A, across from Fidel’s Little Mexico restaurant. A wide selection of desserts will be served. In addition, a silent auction will feature items that include: a comprehensive nutritional consultation (metabolic testing, body composition, nutritional counseling) with Debbie Simon, R.D. valued at $380; a month of unlimited dance classes with Ericka Moore, resident choreographer, Eveoke Dance Theatre valued at $100; eight painting sessions (four classes, two people) weekends and nights at Studio Shu valued at $160; free housecleaning by Cleanology valued at $120; and gift cards for Karl Strauss valued at $75 as well as other local restaurants.

Becky Kalinowski (left), Sophie Needelman and six guest dancers will be performing the evening of July 13 for a fundraiser for their dance company The Defiance Project. Photo by Lillian Cox

A highlight of the soiree will be a performance by founder/co-director Sophie Needelman and co-director Becky Kalinowski along with six guest dancers.

Both women are graduates of Canyon Crest Academy who became friends a year ago at the school’s Envision Dance and Conservatory.

“We met at Envision, but we developed at Eveoke Dance Company studying with teachers and dancers from Canyon Crest,” Needelman said. “Eveoke shapes the way we run rehearsals, and how we choreograph and perform.”

Kalinowski added, “Eveoke has had a big influence on how to take situations in the world and involve them in art.”

The Defiance Project, said Needelman, who coined the name, “uses the creation, expression, practice and performance of dance to explore what it means to defy.”

“There are a lot of restrictions in the world we are brought up into,” Kalinowski added. “It’s not so much about rebellion as having a choice not to do what people expect.

“It’s not about the end, it’s about the process. There’s not a picture on the refrigerator. It’s unique, independent, universal, honest.”

Needelman and Kalinowski explained that they have already expressed defiance by virtue of the fact that they are college students who have stepped out of the norm to establish a dance company of their own.

The Defiance Project has performed at venues throughout the county including the 2012 Little Italy ArtWalk, Mojalet’s Core Group Weekend at The Vine and PGK’s Dance Moves.

This fall they’ll be taking the Defiance Project to the Bay Area where Kalinowski will be entering San Francisco State as a freshman studying dance and criminal justice, and Needelman will return to UC Berkeley as a junior with a major in dance, performance studies and rhetoric.

Funds raised will be used to offset the cost of marketing materials, publicity, rehearsal space, future performances and other expenses associated with establishing a dance company.

Lynne Roswall, founder of Studio Shu, offered her space at no cost for the Friday night fundraiser.

“The way Sophie, Becky and I approach expression touches the public,” she said. “We do it at Studio Shu through painting, art and play. They do it through dance. People respond similarly to both.”

For more information, visit,, youtube: thedefianceproject1 or email

Those unable to attend the event can show their support by donating online at: