Which birds fly together for two nights each year? In Austin, it’s “Night Birds — An Intimate Celebration of Art + Dance.” Coworking and event space The Cathedral and local dance company Ventana Ballet are collaborating for the second year of the dance showcase, taking place September 22 and 23.
Each of the dances on the program is named for a nocturnal bird, with interpretive choreography to represent their beauty and nature. From the 360-degree performance space, the show becomes as immersive as actually interacting with nature, without confining dancers to any one piece of stage. At this East Austin venue, a refurbished 1930s church, any show looks immaculate, not least ballet performances at sundown and once dark has settled in.
The heads of both collaborating organizations, Cathedral and atxGALS founder Monica Ceniceros and Ventana director AJ Garcia-Rameau, are Latinas whose collectives share a vision of greater accessibility in art, making this an especially harmonious collaboration during Hispanic Heritage Month.
Three cellists will play the night away as the six dancers perform, this year to scores by Hispanic composers including early 20th century Spanish cellist Gaspar Cassadó and contemporary Spanish cellist Pablo Ferrández, whose “El Cant del Ocells (Song of the Birds)” deepens the performance’s commitment to the theme. From a popular performance at last year’s show, Nightingales reprise their dance to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” arranged for cello instead of the usual piano by Austin chamber musician Cory Blais.
Surrounding the main performance, as is common for Cathedral events, will be visual art from emerging women and nonbinary artists. A complimentary cocktail bar with night bird-themed recipes features products from local distilleries and breweries.
Following the 2021 format, there are four shows in total over the two days: one from 6-8 pm, and one from 9-11 pm. The show begins 30 minutes after doors open and includes a 10-minute intermission. Tickets (starting at $45) are available on Eventbrite.