New Era for Sharir & Co.

A friendly word of warning: If you're placing a call to Sharir Dance Company any time in the near future, don't be alarmed when the person who answers the phone doesn't say, "Sharir Dance Company." The Austin troupe, which just marked its 15th anniversary, is heading into its "sweet 16" season with a new name, and folks there are already cheerily greeting callers with "Sharir/Bustamante danceworks." The move is, of course, a nod to longtime SDC dancer and choreographer José Luis Bustamante, who has been a member of the company for 14 of its 15 seasons and co-artistic director for the past six. Pairing his name with that of company founder and artistic director Yacov Sharir pays fitting tribute to Bustamante's manifold contributions to the company, in terms of both his individual work and the repertory. As to the rest of the name change, it reflects an interest on the part of the company in highlighting the choreography itself. Many of us have grown accustomed to referring to the troupe in shorthand as "Sharir," but Cindy Goldberger, company director of marketing and public relations, says they want the new name to nudge folks away from the artists and more toward the art: "The hope is that as time goes on, people will refer to the company as danceworks." For the record, the company board approved the new moniker at a meeting on Wednesday, July 22. The vote was unanimous. And speaking of Goldberger, you won't be able to ask for the director of marketing and PR and get her for much longer. Once September 1 rolls around, she takes on a new title: Managing Director. For more info, call 458-8158.

Skagen-Brakhage Split

This is one of those occasions that prompts one to muse, "I guess all good things come to an end." As far as I'm concerned — and I daresay a number of Austinites will agree with me — the art partnership of Rory Skagen and Billy Brakhage was a good thing. It resulted in some of our town's most fun, funky murals — the front of the Carousel Lounge, the Austin postcard at South First and Annie, the "Blue Ribbon" steer on West Fifth at Colorado, to name a few — as well as a host of appealing, whimsical 3-D creations, from the guitar-slingin' waitress atop Fran's Hamburgers to the cowpoke and flying steer at GSD&M's "Idea City" to the gigantic but genial genie mounted on their studio, the one that we dubbed "Best Neighborhood Guardian" in our 1997 "Best of Austin" issue. It was practically impossible to pass a Skagen-Brakhage work without noticing it, and when you did notice, almost as tough not to smile. There was joy there. However, joy in the art doesn't always equal joy in the artist, or, in this case, artists. Something went sour somewhere and, after four years as a team, Brakhage and Skagen have gone their separate ways. Asked about the decision this week, Rory Skagen discreetly cited "creative differences" between the two and declined to elaborate. He said that their studio will be taken over by Evan Voyles of Neon Jungle, with the big genie moving just down the street to Todd Sanders' studio at 1718 South First. Skagen himself is moving to the Thornton Studios, 2311 Thornton, from which he will complete a number of projects in the works, including work for Capstar Studios. He is unsure of Bill Brakhage's plans, but he says optimistically of the split, "Both of us will be able to do exactly what we want now. And still make great art."

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More Articulations
The Harry Ransom Center has acquired all the professional and personal materials of profoundly influential acting teacher Stella Adler

Robert Faires, April 30, 2004

It's the end of an era for the city of Austin's Art in Public Places Program as Martha Peters, administrator of the program for 11 of its 18 years, departs to direct a public art program in Fort Worth.

Robert Faires, July 18, 2003

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