ENCINITAS — When LITVAKdance company presents “Small Dances” on July 28 and 29, viewers can expect a series of personal explorations ranging from playful to introspective — and almost all choreographed by the dance company members themselves. Most of the dances will last the length of a song or two and mainly feature solos and duets.
The unique format is intended in part to fit the venue, explained Sadie Weinberg, Litvak’s founder and artistic director. “The Vine [a theater at Bernardo Winery] is a pretty small space, so you can’t do big movements or large group pieces.” But the intimate theater fits nicely with what Weinberg called the performance’s “little studies.”
Company dancer Ashley Akhavan likes the diverse “textures and energies” that “Small Dances” conveys. She described Beverly Johnson’s “Cool” as “contemporary funk with a lot of acting in it” and “Tarpaulin” as “full body movements that make you feel like a piece of Laffy Taffy.” Akhavan is dancing in those two works and two others, including one she co-choreographed with Korey Van Hoy.
With “Small Dances,” Weinberg turned the majority of the choreography over to her dancers because she said, laughing, “I think they needed a break from me, and I needed a break from creating new work.”
The exception is the last dance — an excerpt from an original work choreographed by Jonathan Campbell and Austin Diaz of Madboots Dance in New York City. Madboots, an all-male, queer dance company, partnered with Litvak, an all-female company with male guest dancers, earlier this month to cast the women dancers in “Tarpaulin.”
While Litvak plans to perform “Tarpaulin” in its entirety in November, audiences this weekend will get a teaser.
Weinberg, a professional dancer, choreographer and professor, launched Litvak in 2017 in Encinitas. It’s a repertory company, meaning that various choreographers are invited to collaborate.
Akhavan described the satisfaction she’s gotten in “absorbing all of the knowledge” of the choreographic influences she’s received while with Litvak. Her “passion has shifted back into dance” from choreography because she is “just relishing in embodying” the different styles and movements brought to the stage by Weinberg, Madboots, her fellow dancers and more, she explained.
“Small Dances” is part of the 2018 Summer Series at the Vine hosted by Mojalet Dance Collective. The theater is located on the grounds of Bernardo Winery, the oldest operating winery in San Diego County. For those planning on attending one of the weekend performances, note that the tasting room is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the Kitchen Restaurant from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will also be live music on the patio on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m.
Saturday, July 28, at 7 p.m. &
Sunday, July 29, at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
The Vine Theater at Bernardo Winery
13330 Paseo Del Verano Norte, San Diego, CA 92128