Today we’d like to introduce you to Sadie Weinberg.
Sadie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Modern dance runs in my blood. My mother was one of the founders of the first modern dance company in San Diego, 3’s Company & Dancers. I started training seriously after I saw a piece my mom was making on California Ballet. One of the dancers in particular, Sylvia Poolos, blew me away. There was something about how she was so completely present in every movement. I knew I wanted to do that.
From there I began training seriously mostly in ballet but also in modern dance. I went on to obtain my BFA at the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College and my MFA at UC Irvine. Since moving back to San Diego over a decade ago, I have danced with the companies of Jean Isaacs, John Malashock, Nancy McCaleb and Yolande Snaith while also continuing to produce my own work in San Diego and abroad. I have been on faculty in several higher education institutions over the past 13 years including MiraCosta College, Palomar College and UC San Diego where I still teach today.
I finally decided to begin a Non-Profit dance company, LITVAKdance, this past year after my second child started kindergarten. I started LITVAKdance because I felt that there was a gaping hole in NW San Diego that needed to be filled. NW San Diego is such a vibrant part of our region, yet there is no professional dance company. The development of LITVAKdance is also deeply inspired by some of the amazing talent coming out of the dance programs in our region. I met all of the core company dancers as an educator. They are an incredibly talented, hungry group of dancers that mirror the changing demographics of our region. As a company, we chose LITVAKdance to be our name because it represents something we feel is particularly potent.
Historically, many modern dance companies are named after their founders for example, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Martha Graham Dance Company, to name a couple of the most well-known. I wanted the company to somehow be tied to me, but not as directly, so the company could have a life of its own. ‘Litvak’ comes from my husband. although, when his family came to the United States from Eastern Europe his great-great-grandfather chose to change his name from ‘Litvak’ to ‘Lane’ to better assimilate into American society. For us, LITVAK represents a taking back of our heritage and our history. We are from places that span the globe, and our histories make us each a unique asset to the company, yet we are rooted to this place, San Diego.
Has it been a smooth road?
Choosing to be an artist is never smooth. There have been many obstacles along the way. Self-doubt is a big one and fear. But isn’t that true in virtually all fields? As far as the company goes, one of the most obvious challenges is funding. I think its hard for people to wrap their heads around the idea that a non-profit dance company is just that, Not-For-Profit.
Arts, in particular dance, rely completely on donor and grant funding. I have shied away from starting a real dance company for many years primarily because of this aspect. It is incredibly hard to secure funding as a new company. Another real challenge is time. All of the dancers have multiple jobs to support their dancing. Often we come to rehearsals tired, injured and overextended. But all of us are there because dance is what gives our lives meaning and helps us make sense of the world around us.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the LITVAKdance story. Tell us more about the business.
LITVAKdance is a new non-profit dance company based in the NorthWest region of San Diego County. We believe we are filling a need in the NW region of San Diego for high caliber arts. We specialize in contemporary modern dance. Our company is a repertory based company which means we commission outside dance makers to set work on the company alongside the work of our Artistic Director, Sadie Weinberg.
With LITVAKdance we wanted to make a company that was more along the lines of a theater company, with a changing repertoire of dances that speak into the vast spectrum of the human experience. We are also committed to diversity. As the face of our region changes, we feel it is important that our company reflects those changes.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The arts are always struggling to survive, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I am a bit fearful of some of the changes that technology has brought to the way we learn and engage with other humans. Dance is a place that still requires real bodies moving through space. It requires us to show up, to move and to work with others. I am hopeful that this doesn’t change but becomes even more revenant as more and more things move to online platforms.
As far as dance companies go, I think building and running a dance company has always required incredible tenacity and creativity. Perhaps one trend is a shift to more repertory based company rather than dance companies that are reliant on founder/artistic director as the sole mode of choreographic works…. although that may not be a ‘trend’ as much as it is something I am particularly interested in doing with LITVAK.
- UC San Diego Molli and Arthur Wagner Dance Building tickets $15 students/seniors $20 general
- tickets: $15 student/senior $20 general
- Website: www.LITVAKdance.org
- Phone: 619-855-0367
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @litvakdance
- Facebook: LITVAKdance
Wren Polansky, Doug McMinimy