Palo Alto Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - June 6, 2014

Worth A Look

Dance

The kids can dance

Like any proud parent, Inna Bayer of the Bayer Ballet Company wants her children — or, more precisely, her students — to have the chance to shine. As such, the Mountain View-based ballet company and school is inviting the public to its "Springtime Novelettes" recital this weekend, so that the community might see just what the young Bayer dancers are capable of.

On June 7 and 8, Bayer student dancers, age 6 and up, will perform in a program featuring variations on some of the most celebrated ballets of all time — including Flames of Paris, Le Corsaire, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.

These are "masterpieces of classical ballet and unique character dances," Bayer says through a thick Ukrainian accent.

Bayer says that inviting the community is important. The students could practice all their lives and never demonstrate what they've worked so hard to learn except for their parents and close friends. But what would be the point of that?

Performing before a live audience is part of what ballet — and all of the performing arts for that matter — is about. Bayer explains. "This is why we perform. It is good for the students. It makes them happy. It makes them proud."

It is good for the community, as well, Bayer reasons. It turns other children on to the possibility that they, too, could be ballet dancers, she says. Plus ballet can be inspiring to people of all ages — no matter the age of the performers. "It's always a good thing to see dancing youth on stage in beautiful costumes," Bayer says.

Springtime Novelettes will show twice — on June 7 at 5:30 p.m. and June 8 at 2:30 p.m. — at the Menlo-Atherton Center for the Performing Arts, at 555 Middlefield Road in Atherton. Tickets are $25. For more information, visit bayerballetacademy.com or call Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006.

Art

Pacific Art League revamped

The Pacific Art League has been participating in Palo Alto's monthly "First Friday" art walk for years. However, according to Seth M. Schalet, PAL's executive director, this coming Friday is special.

That's because it is the "first 'First Friday'" that the Pacific Art League will observe from within the organization's newly redesigned and renovated building.

For the past 14 months, the 93-year-old PAL has been in temporary digs on Forest Avenue, while its long-time downtown headquarters at 668 Ramona St. underwent earthquake retrofitting and an interior redesign.

Everything has been redone, according to Schalet. Brand new gallery lighting and a new floor plan, which will allow for more natural light to penetrate the building, mean the entire space will be brighter than ever before. This will be of benefit for visitors to gallery events such as the upcoming First Friday, as well as students who take art classes at the PAL.

"It will be a much better experience," Schalet says.

The building has also grown by about 5,000 square feet, increasing in size from around 7,500 square feet to 12,500.

All of this was done in coordination with the Palo Alto Historic Resources Board to ensure that the building's "historic integrity" was not dramatically altered. The Ramona Street building was constructed in 1926, and was occupied by the Windsor Cabinet Shop for many years before the Art League moved there in 1965. The facade demonstrates an interesting combination of architectural styles — recalling Spanish Colonial Revival, Mission Revival and Craftsman aesthetics, according to the PAL website.

Schalet says he is excited to be back in the building and hopes many will come to the June 6 First Friday event, which will feature three separate exhibitions. In honor of the recently finished renovation, a juried exhibit, titled "Wet Paint," focuses on two-dimensional works in various types of paint media, such as oil, watercolor and acrylic. "Re|Structure" features four Bay Area artists — including a sculptor, an abstract painter, a mixed-media artist and a printmaker. And finally, the Corridor Gallery will feature a solo showing of abstract landscape painter Ron Andrews, who works mainly in watercolor.

"We are thrilled for the membership to be able to continue our First Friday tradition in our beautifully renovated building," Schalet says, adding that he anticipates plenty of people — both PAL members and others in the community — will want to see the new space. "With our location and the visibility of our (renovation) project, we know that community interest will be high, in both seeing the building and experiencing our curriculum and programs."

The Pacific Art League, located at 668 Ramona St., will be open to the public on June 6 for the monthly First Friday art walk in Palo Alto. Admission is free. For more information visit pacificartleague.org or call 650-321-3891.

— Nick Veronin

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