WALNUT CREEK

'Web Ballet' work from online suggestions

Diablo Ballet of California will become the first professional dance company to create an entirely new dance work from ideas suggested by internet users.

This "Web Ballet" will be based on choreography suggestions submitted by individuals all around the world to Diablo Ballet's Twitter page (@DiabloBallet) to be performed March 1-2 at the Shadelands Arts Center Auditorium in Walnut Creek.

Now through Thursday, Feb 14, those interested may use the Twitter hash tag #DiabloWebBallet to suggest:

  • Emotion of the dancers (happy, sad, etc)

  • The mood of the entire work (intense, lighthearted)

  • Specific dance moves ( turning, jumping, specific steps)

    Participants will also be able to help select the music of the piece by voting on the three selections found on Diablo Ballet's YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/diabloballet

    The work will be choreographed by Robert Dekkers, a Diablo Ballet dancer, the artistic director of San Francisco's Post:Ballet, and one of Dance Magazine's 2011 25 to Watch.

    Submissions closes on Feb. 14 when Dekkers and Lauren Jonas, Diablo Ballet's artistic director, will select seven choreographic suggestions. Dekkers will then have two weeks to utilize all of the winning ideas and create a new dance work.


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    "Diablo Ballet is proud of making dance accessible, and this concept will allow people to participate in the creative process," Jonas said. We're thrilled to break new ground and to show how the global web community can come together to create the power of dance."

    More information on how to participate may be found at http://www.diabloballet.org/performance.html

    Smuin's 'Cold Virtues' this Friday, Saturday at Lesher Center

    Smuin Ballet's presentation of "Cold Virtues," a striking interplay of romance and power from rising choreographer Adam Hougland, set to Philip Glass' haunting Violin Concerto, performs Friday, Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Fe. 2 at 2 p. m. and 8 p.m. at the Lesher Center for the Arts in downtown Walnut Creek.

    The program also includes a revival of "Oh, Inverted World," Trey McIntyre's hit set to music from the popular indie-rock band The Shins, which received its world premiere with Smuin Ballet in 2010. Three works by Michael Smuin will also grace the stage — "Starshadows," a sensual and evocative adagio for three couples set to Maurice Ravel's "Piano Concerto in G major;" "Homeless," a joyous and exhilarating solo work; and "No Viviré," an en pointe solo peppered with the delicious flavoring of Latin American rhythms.

    Tickets, at $54 to $70, are now available at www.smuinballet.org and at the Lesher Center box office, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek.

    'Viva Arts' fundraiser goes to 'Havana'

    A five-piece Cuban band, catering by Havana Restaurant and Wilma Lott Catering, and Cuban Mojitos will highlight "Midnight in Havana," this year's fundraiser for the Friends of Civic Arts Education Foundation to be held starting at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Shadelands Auditorium, 111 N. Wiget Lane in Walnut Creek.

    Money raised from this event provides scholarships for both children and adults to attend Civic Arts programs as well as needed equipment and supplies. Last year, "Viva Arts!" raised nearly $30,000, and Friends President Michael Weiner hopes to increase the total this year.

    "This is our first sit-down dinner, and we have a professional auctioneer, Damon Casatico, to direct both the live and cocktail auctions," Weiner said in a news release. "There will be complimentary wine and beer and, of course, the featured cocktail Cuban Mojitos."

    Los Boleros, a professional Cuban band, as well as students from CAE's Youth Theatre Company and instrumental ensembles will provide entertainment.

    For more information, call 925-939-2787 or go to www.friendsartsed.org.

    Free chamber music concert Feb. 12

    The Contra Costa Performing Arts Society's Tuesday evening chamber concert of classical music for next month takes place Feb. 12 beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, 55 Eckley Lane in Walnut Creek.

    The free concert will open with a piano quintet by Shostakovich, followed by Soprano Diane Barton Brown singing songs by Faure and Ernest Chausson, accompanied by pianist Nancy Rude. Barton Brown will also sing Airs and Fancies by American opera composer Seymour Barab accompanied by violin, cello and piano. This concert concludes with Beethoven's String Quartet in C Major which features violins, viola and cello. Free.

    For more information, go to www.ccpas.org

    'Broadway Revealed' at the Bedford

    "Broadway Revealed: Behind the Theater Curtain" is scheduled to run through Feb. 17 at the Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts.

    It reflects the breadth, ambition, and showmanship of New York's iconic theater district to the gallery with a behind-the-scenes look at world-class theater production via artist Stephen Joseph's photographs of some of Broadway's most critically acclaimed productions.

    The performance images are bolstered by photos of theatrical props, costumes, and other artifacts.

    The exhibit is designed to showcase the complex support network of design, lighting, directing, and staging that come together to create the magic world of the theater.

    The gallery, in the Lesher Center for the Arts, is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and from 6 to 8 p.m. on dates of evening performances at the Lesher.

    'Animals, Real and Imagined' unleashed starting March 3

    "Peaceable Kingdom: Animals, Real and Imagined," a juried show devoted to investigating our storied and rich relationship with the animal world, will be on exhibit March 3-May 19 at the Bedford Gallery inside the Lesher Center for the Arts.

    "Peaceable Kingdom" invites prominent curators to assemble a collection of innovative and appealing works by national artists. This exhibition will explore the presence of animals in the visual arts, and how they appear as metaphors, totems, objects of fear and sources of emotional attachment and affection.

    This juried exhibition will encourage artists to meditate on the complex and diverse relationships between humans and animals, addressing such issues as antagonism, admiration, attachment, and even the politically charged issue of animal rights.

    CONTRA COSTA

    Barbershop chorus sings for valentines

    The Devil Mountain barbershop Chorus will again be performing "Singing Valentines" this season, between Feb. 8 and Feb. 14, at homes, workplaces, restaurants -- wherever the giver wants to impress his or her true love.

    For each Singing Valentine, a quartet from among the 50 members of the Devil Mountain chorus dresses in white tuxedos and red vests to sing a couple of love songs and present the lucky recipient with a box of chocolates and an elegant red rose. Valentines cab be scheduled for anytime from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    To order a Singing Valentine -- they are $50 each -- contact Al Eames at 925-376-4916.

    DVC's 'Spelling Bee' runs through Feb. 10

    Actors in the Diablo Valley College Drama department will perform "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" several more times through Feb. 10, at the college's Performing Arts Center Main Stage on the Pleasant Hill campus.

    This musical is about six young people in the throes of puberty vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime. Some important truths are spelled out for them along the way, including that winning isn't everything and losing doesn't necessarily make you a loser.

    For performance dates and times and for tickets, which range from $10 to $20, call 925-687-4445 or go online to www.dvcdrama.net

    Lafayette

    'Tokens of Affection' land for Valentine's Day

    When it's cold outside, come in and enjoy the warmth of Lafayette Gallery's winter show "Tokens of Affection," on exhibit through March 9 at the gallery, 50 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette.

    Cards and gifts, ceramics, paintings, prints, glasswork, jewelry and photography, all created by local artists who love what they do, will be on display and for sale. Valentines cards and more have arrived.

    A free champagne and chocolates reception will be held Friday, Feb. 1 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the gallery; all are welcome.

    A night of 'Petty Theft' at Town Hall Jan. 26

    Petty Theft, a Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers tribute band, makes its return to Town Hall Theatre for one night only, Jan. 26, for a show of Petty music ranging from his revered classics to his most current hits.

    Tickets range from $10 to $30. Doors open at 7, music begins at 8. To buy tickets, go to Thttp://www.townhalltheatre.com; to learn more about the band, go to http://www.pettytheftrocks.com

    Moraga

    'Lightness of Seeing' photography show open

    The Moraga Art Gallery's new show, "The Unbearable Lightness of Seeing," features the unique combination of Dave E. Dondero's hyper-realistic California landscapes and Erik Wilson's thought-provoking and often ironic urban scenes.

    The two have been friends for 30 years, but this is the first time their work has been seen together in a show celebrating the "lightness" of the fleeting visual moments life brings us, whether the telling expression of a stranger or the play of clouds above a solitary oak.

    The show, which opened Jan. 16, runs through March 23, and admission is free.

    Saint Mary's museum of art honored

    The Saint Mary's College of California Museum of Art were honored with a 2012 Arts Recognition Award by the Arts & Culture Commission of Contra Costa and the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors -- a nod to its contributions to the cultural heritage of the Bay Area, and to Contra Costa County in particular.

    Museum director Carrie Brewster said she is "thrilled" with the honor.

    Darwin Marable, chairman for the Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County, said "the Saint Mary's Art Museum was honored for its permanent collection, including its William Keith Collection, and noteworthy one-person exhibitions which bring local, national and international known artist to Moraga and Contra Costa County."

    For 17 years, Arts & Culture Commission has been recognizing arts leaders in area communities through the Arts Recognition Awards, which honor individuals, charitable institutions, businesses and charitable organizations

    'Princess and the Pea' for the kids in January

    The Saint Mary's College Performing Arts Department will present a stage adaptation of the classic Hans Christian Andersen story "The Princess and the Pea" Jan. 30-31 at the college's LeFevre Theatre, 1928 St. Marys Road, Moraga.

    This is the department's annual fairy tale performance, which are popular and often sell out before Jan. 1. The short story is made into an almost-full-hour of children-focused entertainment, all aspects carried out by Saint Mary's College students enrolled in the "Jan Term" Children's Theatre course under Michael Cook. Staying faithful to the Andersen text, the students will add their own imagination, theatricality, acting, sets and costumes.

    Performances are: Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 31 at 4 p.m. All tickets are $8; call 925-631-4670 or go to brownpapertickets.com for more info.