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'It's Kind Of Our Purpose To Share': Ventana Ballet Readies Intimate Show 'Night Birds'

“Our last live show with an audience in the same breathing space as us was in our studio,” says AJ Garcia-Rameau, the director of Austin’s Ventana Ballet. “We did an in-house show on Leap Year weekend, which was literally one week before the pandemic was announced.”

During lockdown, Ventana kept busy with a digital series and then a drive-in version of their annual holiday show, but their upcoming performance of Night Birds will mark Ventana’s return to the sort of intimate, in-person dance pieces they’re known for.

“[We’re] excited to be back in the studio, getting revved up again,” Garcia-Rameau says. “We are so pumped.”

Night Birds will be performed at, and is a collaboration with, the Cathedral. “It’s a 1930s refurbished church in East Austin created by the founder of atxGALS, which is an all-women artist collective,” Garcia-Rameau says. “So naturally, you know, Ventana Ballet being a women-led company as well, we decided to collaborate and create this kind of intimate ballet performance.”

The piece will include five dancers and three cellists performing in a gallery space featuring locally produced art. “They’ve curated a bunch of art from different local artists, all women,” Garcia-Rameau says. “People can walk around, check out the art. [There will be] different styles of art, so you can kind of immerse yourself in performance art, dance, music, painting, sculpture – all kinds of awesome things in one space.”

Garcia-Rameau says she and her fellow dancers are excited to be performing together again. “Everyone is training again, they’re excited to be in the studio… we’re sweating together,” she says. “I mean, it’s kind of like a vivaciousness that you get, you know, about two days before a show, but we’ve got it like six weeks before a show right now. It’s a cool feeling.”

Garcia-Rameau hopes that feeling of excitement carries over to the audience as well. “I’m hoping that folks can walk away feeling touched by the music, touched by the dance, inspired to go see more live art… and to be together in community,” she says. “It’s kind of our purpose to share and to bring people together.”

‘Night Birds’ from Ventana Ballet will be performed at the Cathedral July 30 and 31.

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