Dancer Vanessa Isaac returns to the stage and in the studio | Culture & Leisure

Posted May 13, 2022
| 11:11 a.m.

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Vanessa Isaac Dance Company performs in the dance film ‘Made of Flight’. (Courtesy picture)

Renowned Santa Barbara-based dancer and choreographer Vanessa Isaac will return to European teaching studios for the first time in over two years, signaling her return to regular engagements nationally and internationally.

“I’m thrilled to be teaching and performing in front of a live audience again,” said Isaac, who will lead classes in Paris on the weekend of May 21-22. “Dance is all about movement and emotion, and there’s an undeniable electricity in the air as performers share an intimate space with grateful audience members.”

Isaac, emerging from a successful collaboration with Bay Area percussionist and composer Ami Molinelli on the dance films Alfazema and Panducada in 2021, is also rebuilding his dance company. The Santa Barbara-based Vanessa Isaac Dance Company was scheduled to make its international debut in Monaco in June 2020, a show canceled due to the pandemic.

In 2018, the Vanessa Isaac Dance Company performed Prelúdio da Saudade for the opening of an exhibition featuring works by minimalist artist Valeska Soares at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Isaac choreographed the work in collaboration with guest performers Kaita Lepore Mrazek and Tim Wood.

Other recent projects include Feita de Luz, a dance film directed and choreographed by Isaac that premiered online in 2020. The project is dedicated to “Baianas”, women of African descent who embody Afro-Brazilian culture in the Brazilian state of Bahia.

A short snippet of the dance work was featured in “Before It Kills Us All”, a film and video installation produced and directed by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Margaret Lazarus. Before heading to Paris, Isaac will perform at the Hilton Beachfront Hotel in Santa Barbara as part of a private conference on May 13 and 14.

Internationally, Isaac was a guest teacher for the “Fête de la Danse” of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo in Monaco; Dance School Kim Kan and Center Momboye in Paris; and the Center Mounier in Brussels. She has been a guest teacher at the Gustafson Dance School (State Street Ballet Academy); Camp California Brazil; UCSB; International Samba Congress in Los Angeles; Capoeira Brasil group in Los Angeles; and Capoeira Sul da Bahia.

Isaac’s open classes in Santa Barbara since 1998 and his leadership of the community group Hip Brazil have introduced many to the transformative power of dance. For two decades, she dedicated a few months each year to teaching and preparing community dancers for performances in the annual Summer Solstice Parade. His community group has spawned many local ensembles.

In addition to magazine coverage such as Dance Spirit, InStyle, Shape, Fitness and Women’s Health & Fitness, Isaac has been featured on CNN Headline News and Fox TV. Her Brazilian Dance DVD has sold over a million copies worldwide and was voted one of the top 10 DVDs of the year by Fitness and Women’s Health & Fitness.

Nominated for the Brazilian International Press Award in the dance category, Isaac was named one of the “most intriguing people to know” by Santa Barbara magazine for her cultural contributions to the city.

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