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The universe turns a blind eye to the triumphs, losses, and vicissitudes of our individual daily lives.  After a resounding success or a horrific loss, I expect the world I see when my eyes open to somehow be altered.  It never is.  That can be a source of comfort but is also a source of mild bewilderment.  Last night’s brilliant performance brought many of us to the top of the mountain.

Esteban Moreno and NicoleVaughan-Diaz

Today I am savoring the resounding success of our 2017 DANCEworks residency. In my personal world and in the world of the artists who were with us for a month, I can say with certainty that the world is a better place today. It feels brighter, more loving and more optimistic.  I hope the pleasure and wonder the final performances of the residency generated for everyone in the audience will be present for them today too.

Nayhara Zeutrager and Esteban Moreno

I am still seeing images and hearing music.  The magnificence and passion of the dancers can serve as an inspiration to strive mightily in life to understand and utilize the gifts bestowed on each of us.  In this world that is not so user-friendly to the art of dance, these artists have remained dedicated. Their payback is great, if fleeting.  I can only hope it sustains them through the inevitable difficult times in their careers.  We shared a golden month together.  I am in a state of awe for what was achieved in four weeks time.

Nayhara Zeugtager, Daniel Escobar, Thyrn Saxon

nicole and thryn duet

Nicole Vaughan-Diaz, Thryn Saxon

tayhara and danny

Nayhara Zeugtrager, Daniel Escobar

The generosity that flowed among the performers was a model of support and respect for each other. The mutual caring and consideration they shared were ingrained in this residency.  It followed easily from Kate Weare’s and Esteban Moreno’s leadership.  It was beautiful to witness as well as to sense.

                Kate Weare and Esteban Moreno

Nicole, Gabrielle Weisbuch, Daniel, Thryn, Escobar, Tayhara

These realities are what I choose to focus on today.  Our better angels were on full display this month.  My cup overfloweth with gratitude for everyone who helped make this year’s residency a reality.  It is a team effort. Each of us tries to do what we know how to do and do it as well as we can. I saw the happiness in smiles all around me last night.  It lifted me ever higher.

Since this isn’t the Academy Awards, I’m not going to mention names.  Just know that I am profoundly appreciative of everyone whose work, enthusiasm, and financial contribution brought us to the top of the mountain last night!

from left: Nicole, Tayhara, Thryn, Daniel, Gabrielle, Escobar

from left: Nicole, Tayhara, Thryn, Daniel, Gabrielle, Escobar

all photos by David Bazemore

Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.


  • Judi Miller Wallner says:

    The Top of the Mountain…what a wonderful, inspiring, hopeful and soul nurturing place to be….The world is indeed a better place because of your (and Danny’s)contribution to it. Much love to you both, J n L
    PS The photos are fabulous…you can feel the emotion.

  • testing321 says:

    Dear Dianne,

    It all looks and sounds wonderful. Congratulations to you and all.

    Love to you and Daniel,

    Peter and Jane


  • Oh Dianne. All of us should have such an angel in our lives writing such prose with your clarity and warmth and humanity. I like to think I get a glimpse of it every so often when we have the chance. Brava

  • Mark dendy says:

    Congratulations on such an achievement again! The world is indeed a better place because of Dianne I am Dan Vapnek. You captured my sentiments exactly about the day after the show. Much love mark

  • Susan Alexander says:

    So well said and expressed!!!! I agree with you 100% and more! It was truly a golden month and I feel privileged to have witnessed the process. I feel on top of that mountain you spoke about after seeing the performance last night!! Euphoric!!!

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