Straddling Northern California and Nevada at 6200 feet, Lake Tahoe is a natural wonder but hardly an artistic hotbed. Christin Hanna grew up as a culturally isolated “bunhead” there, on the north rim of the lake. She trained in Reno, and at American Ballet Theatre’s summer program, and made the leap to New York in her twenties, taking class at STEPS on Broadway with Willie Burmann and eventually dancing with the New Chamber Ballet at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. The Pillow was revelatory to this dancer with a keen sense of history and a deep respect for the importance of intimate personal mentorship and legacy in dance. In July 2013, having moved home and built nearly everything from the ground up—including a lakeside stage—Hanna and her old friend from ABT’s school, Constantine Baecher, presented the first Lake Tahoe Dance Festival. I regret to admit that I have lived a few hours away since the festival’s inception and never attended. That will certainly change after watching the festival’s online 2020 edition.
Christin Hanna and Damien Johnson at Lake Tahoe. Photograph by Jen Schmidt
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