Courtesy photo

With the coronavirus still preventing live performances in Santa Monica, performers with the Westside School of Ballet have decided to host a drive-in movie venture featuring some of the studio’s most celebrated choreographers, dancers and alumni.

In conjunction with Santa Monica College’s Public Policy Institute Annual Arts Forum and the SMC Dance Department, “Grace and Grit” will be presented at Santa Monica College’s Bundy Campus at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9-10.

The project highlights several professional alumni and the award-winning Ballet Folklórico Flor de Mayo, as well as Santa Monica College’s diverse dance companies — Global Motion and Synapse. The film also showcases two new works by three aspiring Westside Ballet pre-professional dancers, Samara Koseff, Mac Pampinella and Zane Tahvildaran-Jesswein.

Koseff’s work, “Misconception,” was informed by the lyrics of the song, “My Funny Valentine” by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.

“I absolutely loved the music but I’ve always found that song to be really insulting because how demeaning and rude they are to the woman in the song,” she said. “So, I kind of wanted to do a piece from her point-of-view,” which resulted in a pretty fun time during the creative process.

Tahvildaran-Jesswein and Pampinella said recent losses in their lives, and the grief that resulted, inspired their piece “Daybreak.”

“Initially, we were taking a college dance course,” and working on a final when the two were asked to adapt their piece for the drive-in production, Tahvildaran-Jesswein said. “And it just kind of turned into a completely different thing. It’s great though because the first draft was just us on the beach kind of screwing around. There was a vague idea of grief because me and Mac had both gone through some really tough losses in our lives right before. So the revised version was supposed to look at the anger that both of us were going through, and how to deal with that, as well as how to manifest in a healthy way.”

Though she lives in Chicago, Westside Ballet alumna Lucia Connolly will also make an appearance in the upcoming film.

“I didn’t really have any part in the creative process but it was lovely to go back to the beach, dance the same piece I did right before I left for Chicago,” and it was all to support Westside Ballet, she said.

Tickets for the Dance Film Drive-In Fundraising Event are available online now at www.westsideballet.com, and the students are hopeful the community will attend.

“You’re not going to experience this when we go back to normal. It’s completely different as an experience and I think that’s a good thing to have right now,” Global Motion’s Jackie Riedel said Thursday.

“COVID has performing arts as a whole taking a pretty gnarly hit. There are no live shows allowed but this loophole that we’ve been able to pull off is pretty sweet,” Tahvildaran-Jesswein said.

“Also, it’s a way to support young artists,” Riedel added, ”who are going into the world of art during a time of great stress and uncertainty.”

With the coronavirus still preventing live performances in Santa Monica, performers with the Westside School of Ballet have decided to host a drive-in movie venture featuring some of the studio’s most celebrated choreographers, dancers and alumni.

In conjunction with Santa Monica College’s Public Policy Institute Annual Arts Forum and the SMC Dance Department, “Grace and Grit” will be presented at Santa Monica College’s Bundy Campus at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9-10.

The project highlights several professional alumni and the award-winning Ballet Folklórico Flor de Mayo, as well as Santa Monica College’s diverse dance companies — Global Motion and Synapse. The film also showcases two new works by three aspiring Westside Ballet pre-professional dancers, Samara Koseff, Mac Pampinella and Zane Tahvildaran-Jesswein.

Koseff’s work, “Misconception,” was informed by the lyrics of the song, “My Funny Valentine” by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.

“I absolutely loved the music but I’ve always found that song to be really insulting because how demeaning and rude they are to the woman in the song,” she said. “So, I kind of wanted to do a piece from her point-of-view,” which resulted in a pretty fun time during the creative process.

Tahvildaran-Jesswein and Pampinella said recent losses in their lives, and the grief that resulted, inspired their piece “Daybreak.”

“Initially, we were taking a college dance course,” and working on a final when the two were asked to adapt their piece for the drive-in production, Tahvildaran-Jesswein said. “And it just kind of turned into a completely different thing. It’s great though because the first draft was just us on the beach kind of screwing around. There was a vague idea of grief because me and Mac had both gone through some really tough losses in our lives right before. So the revised version was supposed to look at the anger that both of us were going through, and how to deal with that, as well as how to manifest in a healthy way.”

Though she lives in Chicago, Westside Ballet alumna Lucia Connolly will also make an appearance in the upcoming film.

“I didn’t really have any part in the creative process but it was lovely to go back to the beach, dance the same piece I did right before I left for Chicago,” and it was all to support Westside Ballet, she said.

Tickets for the Dance Film Drive-In Fundraising Event are available online now at www.westsideballet.com, and the students are hopeful the community will attend.

“You’re not going to experience this when we go back to normal. It’s completely different as an experience and I think that’s a good thing to have right now,” Global Motion’s Jackie Riedel said Thursday.

“COVID has performing arts as a whole taking a pretty gnarly hit. There are no live shows allowed but this loophole that we’ve been able to pull off is pretty sweet,” Tahvildaran-Jesswein said.

“Also, it’s a way to support young artists,” Riedel added, ”who are going into the world of art during a time of great stress and uncertainty.”

brennon@smdp.com