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We are dedicated to the enjoyment & preservation of Nantucket Island, with our portal site Nantucket.net and online publication Yesterday's Island, Today's Nantucket.

Dance Festival Brings Classic and Modern Performances to Island

Nantucket Dance Festival | Nantucket | MA

What began as a one-off evening of dance quickly became the multi-day event brimming with world-class talent known as the Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival. In 2008, the Atheneum sponsored a performance from Stiefel and Stars, an intensive summer program that was run on Martha’s Vineyard by Ethan Stiefel, a principal dance for the American Ballet Theatre (ABT). “We looked at the landscape here,” says Atheneum Head Adult Program Coordinator Amy Jenness, “and saw that there wasn’t a whole lot of dance.” The event, sponsored to gauge community interest, sold out. The success of the event propelled the Atheneum to invest more energy into the dance world. The result was the Dance Festival, which over the years has turned into a multi-day event featuring classes, discussions, and performances, all from the best talent in dance.

This year, the Festival culminates in two performances (Friday and Saturday, July 25 and 26 at 6pm) with dancers from the New York City Ballet (NYCB) and ABT. Curated by Tyler Angle, the works presented range from classic ballet to new work by modern talent. Angle takes over the role of Artistic Director from Benjamin Millepied, who joins the Paris Opera this September as Director of Dance. Angle has been a principal dancer for NYCB since 2009 and has performed in works from George Balanchine’s Swan Lake to premiere pieces by Mauro Bigonzetti. “My role as Artistic Director first and foremost is to choose the repertory and dancers for the festival,” says Angle. “The real challenge in Nantucket is to appeal to the very educated dance enthusiast crowd and at the same time be accessible, interesting, and enjoyable to the people who may only see this one dance program every year.”

Nantucket Dance Festival | Nantucket | MA

Angle, blending an array of sounds and styles, successfully pulls off this feat in the performances, which are distinctive not only for their arrangements but also their mix of dancers from the two companies. “What makes our festival unique is that you would never see the pairings done here,” says Jenness. Angle describes the performances, saying, “The audience will see classical choreography from 1850 or so, and then follow that line up to much more contemporary choreography. Needless to say,” he explains, “the way in which we dance ballet has changed a great deal since the 1800s. I’m trying to show the breadth of work that any one of these dancers can come across in their careers, or just even one week of their careers!” Both performances are held in the Nantucket High School Auditorium, affording all audience members an opportunity to see the dancers’ talents up-close.

The first act leans towards traditional and opens with Bach’s Partita #2 and Emery LeCrone’s 2014 classically informed choreography. As the second piece, Angle chose the Brahm-Schoenburg Quartet, which is Brahm’s Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor as orchestrated by Arnold Schoenberg. The abstract dance is by renowned choreographer and NYCB founder George Balanchine. Finishing the first act is Flower Festival in Genzano Pas de Deux, a touching love duet from August Bournonville with music by Eduard Helssted. Dancing the piece are Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside, who will later premiere an excerpt of Lidberg’s new piece. Angle, illustrating the range of the performance pieces, points out that “[v]astly different skill sets are employed to dance these works.”

For the second act, Angle emphasizes modern talent. His first pick is Neverwhere, a 2013 work by Millepied featuring Nico Muhly’s Drones and Viola. Dramatizing the piece are intricate plastic costumes, as well as lighting by Mark Stankley, the perfomances’ Lighting Director. Following the 2013 work is the premiere preview of Lidberg’s new duet, which Boylston, its soloist and ABT principal, commissioned with her Annenberg Foundation grant. The final feature of the night, Furiant, is a fast-paced duet set to Antonín Dvorák’s Piano Quintet in A major. Justin Peck, the 26-year-old newly appointed resident choreographer at NYCB, premiered the piece last year at the Young American Grand Prix Gala.

Nantucket Dance Festival | Nantucket | MA

A big believer in live music, Angle has opted for all pieces but Bournonville’s and Lidberg’s to be accompanied by five Juilliard-trained musicians on piano, violin, viola, and cello. “I am very excited that we are having so much live music this year,” says Angle. “First of all because it sounds better in the space and secondly because I am a complete classical music geek.” He explains how the musicians bolster the performances, saying, “[N]othing could be more immediate than watching the musicians’ physical response to their own sounds, which adds another interesting facet to the program.”

The night before the performances, Angle leads a conversation on the performances where company dancers not only demonstrate but also discuss their work. “The lecture/demonstration is a behind-the-scenes look at the dances that are going to be performed the following two nights,” says Jenness. “The Festival really gives attendees a chance to understand what it is that they are looking at.”

“I think we’re so used to looking at things on the screen,” she says. “In a dark room, with other people all experiencing the same thing together—there’s a magic that happens there.” With its intimate settings and discussions, the Nantucket Dance Festival undoubtedly augments the enchanting sensation of live performance. To purchase tickets ($45-85) or to learn more about the Festival’s accomplished artists and program, visit www.nantucketatheneum.org.

by Julianne Adams

Can It!

by Carri L. Wroblewski, BRIX Wine Shop

BeerSandI admit—I don’t drink a lot of beer. But there are those moments when any other beverage just doesn’t fit the bill. For instance, a friend of mine on island loves a beer after his 6-mile runs. Makes sense. When I lived in D.C. and ran through the streets of Georgetown with the running group Hash House Harriers, our unconventional mid mile stops were not for water, but rather beer. So, I understand my friend Peter’s desire to quench his post workout thirst with a cold one.

Then there are certain foods that only beer teams up with perfectly. Like the hot dog. Last spring while we were preparing to open our wine shop with no time to cook and less time to eat, we often popped over to Lola Burger. Though the cheeseburgers are delicious, for me it was the wagyu beef hot dog that stole the show. And the only thing better than upgrading to the truffle fries is the beer that I washed it all down with.

Perusing their beverage list my eyes stopped on an unfamiliar libation. Hell or High Watermelon? I had to ask. After a brief description it only made me want it more. Just to be sure I confirmed that it was on draft—typically the only way I drink it. Disappointingly the server told me it only came in a can. Now when I think of canned beer, memories of drinking “Natty Light” in an Indiana cornfield come to mind, so I hesitated, but agreed. Out came this flashy can illustrated with a cartooned Lady Liberty sitting on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. When did canned beer become so cool?

Back in fashion and better for the environment, I learned many of our favorite suds are saying goodbye to the bottle and hello to the can. First officially debuted in Richmond, VA in 1935 by The Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company, canned beer has had a storied past. Its initial entry into the market didn’t come until after Prohibition ended. American Can (the company making the can) had to overcome two major obstacles before they could sell the idea to the big brewers. First, they had to make a can that could withstand the pressure of beer, and second, they had to find a material to line the inside of the can so it wouldn’t react with its contents. A trial run with Pabst proved positive, but the company still wasn’t sold on the idea and wouldn’t commit until tested in a real market. Enter Krueger’s.

A small brewery based in Newark, New Jersey, Krueger’s business suffered during Prohibition. To make the “can idea” appealing to them, American Can offered to foot the bill for the canning line and the first test run. Just 2,000 initial cans were produced and dropped at homes around Richmond, VA with a questionnaire on quality. The response was overwhelming. Kreuger went full speed ahead and the beer can was born.

But back to that cornfield in Indiana—historically when we think of canned beer we think of beers from bigger breweries like Anheuser Busch and Heineken. And truthfully, many of us think of those beers as being lesser quality. So when did the little guys, the craft breweries get into the game and why?

According to the ‘Cantastic Database,’ there are 410 craft breweries and over 1,450 craft canned beers now on the market. And the argument for ‘canning it’ is growing. On the scientific side, cans protect beer from light and oxygen, both of which can destroy a beer’s freshness. Bottled beers exposed to too much light can become ‘skunky’ and undrinkable. The same goes for oxygen. If even a little seeps under the bottle cap, your beers been compromised.

But for practical reasons how does the can stack up next to its bottled counterpart? On Nantucket the can is a natural. Toss a six-pack into your bag and head to the beach. With a six-pack of cans, you’ve lightened the load. And once you’re there, a can’s time in the cooler is less due to its ability to chill faster. For those of you pouring poolside, the “No Glass Allowed” sign is a simple reminder of why the can is king. Heading off to Madaket? With a recycling regiment as serious as we have on island, the environmental angle has its advantages too. An aluminum can is very easy to recycle and can be melted down over and over again, never losing its quality.

Even the island’s own Cisco Brewers is now offering in cans their classics: Whales’ Tale Pale Ale, IPA, Sankaty Light, and Summer.

So what summer suds should you be sipping? Uinta Brewing Company based in Utah makes a refreshing IPA in cans called Hop Nosh. Dressed in an eye-catching yellow six-pack box, it’s loaded with hops and has bold flavors of citrus and malt.

Oskar Blues ‘Dale’s Pale Ale’ was a trailblazer when it comes to the can. Launching its canning operations in 2002, it was the first craft-canned mountain ale. A flavorful beer crafted with substantial amounts of European malts and four kinds of American hops, there’s a lot to love in these 12 ounces.

And 21st Amendment Brewery, who kicked off the craft can craze for me, makes a session ale (a low alcohol beer) called Bitter American. Without sacrificing flavor this is a beer you can take to the beach and drink all day long. But they really nailed it with their wheat beer Hell or High Watermelon. Light, refreshing, with a whisper of watermelon flavor, they canned a little bit of summer.

There’s something throw-back about the can, something special when you crack open that top, hear the gentle release, and take that first, thirst quenching sip.

Faces of the Nantucket Triathlon


The Nantucket Triathlon, taking place this year on Saturday, July 19, may be young but it has already become known as an enjoyable experience for athletes of all levels. Jamie Ranney, who founded the triathlon in 2009, says, “My goal in starting the Nantucket Triathlon was to bring a true premiere multi-sport race to the island, an event worthy of the natural resources and facilities that Nantucket has to offer. We have designed a course that is fast and challenging for experienced athletes, yet appealing to first timers as well.” Read on to meet a few of them.

S20140702_172233hawna Larrabee,
Stay-at-home mom
Larrabee moved to the island last September with her husband and two boys, ages five and three. This year will mark her first triathlon. She says, “My good friend Diane Tartamella, who helps organize the event, makes it look like such a fun time on Facebook.” Larrabee has joined a relay team and will be doing the biking leg, which she confesses was the least scary of the three choices. “To train, I’ve been enjoying the scenic bike paths on-island, all while pulling a buggy with precious cargo: my two little boys. I know I will learn a lot about myself by participating in this event. The finish time I am hoping for is any time before sunset!”



Danielle O’Dell,
Research Technician at Nantucket Conservation Foundation

O’Dell moved to Nantucket from Tuscon, AZ, six years ago to take a job in the science and stewardship department at the Nantucket Conservation Foundation. A long-time sports lover, she was thrilled when her new town launched a triathlon. She says, “There are many cyclists and triathletes on island who end up doing quite a bit of traveling to races, which is time consuming and expensive. It’s wonderful to have such a high quality event with great competition right here at home.” She thrives during the running leg, but calls biking her Achilles heel. O’Dell trains with a coach who provides weekly training schedules. “At minimum,” says O’Dell, “I usually have three bikes, three runs and three swims per week with some strength training thrown in the mix. I love the Nantucket Triathlon because of the camaraderie. It’s so much fun to have your friends and family on the course with you or cheering for you.”

IronMan SwimJim Pignato,
Aquatics Director at the Nantucket Community Pool and the Head Varsity Swim Coach at Nantucket High School

Pignato grew up on Nantucket and graduated from Nantucket High School. After four years at Bentley University, Pignato returned to the island. His first triathlon ever was the 2009 Nantucket Triathlon, and he was hooked for the next two years. Last year, he joined a relay team and completed the run leg of the Hero Triathlon. He says, “This event is the perfect entry level race, and being on Nantucket made it even better.  It’s a very well-run event. As a former college swimmer, participating in triathlons is a natural progression. The swim leg is my strength; but because it’s a sprint race, I don’t gain a lot of separation from the field. During the bike leg, I hear a lot of ‘on your left’ as I get passed. I’ve been really focused on the run as of late; that’s what I enjoy most right now.”

Nantucket Comedy Festival Announces New Participants

ncfweblogo2014Nantucket Comedy Festival brings four days of fun and laughs with national stand-up comedians, comedy writers and well-known commentators.

Women’s Night on Thursday welcomes Kerri Louise Cotter, Regina DeCicco and Charlene May, joining headliner Caroline Rhea.


Caroline Rhea. Photo courtesy of Nantucket Comedy Festival.

Al Ducharme, Juston McKinney, Graig Murphy, heard on WEEI and NESN, and Ryan Reiss, warm up comic for “Late Night with Seth Meyers” on NBC, are among the latest to join teams performing at NY-Boston Comedy SmACKdownSaturday night at Nantucket’s new VFW.

Nantucket Comedy Festival 2014 salutes TV legend Dick Cavett and features comedian Caroline Rhea, the cast and writers of NBC’s Parks and Recreation including actor Adam Scott and writer Donick Cary, writer-producer-director Peter Farrelly, America’s Got Talent comedy runner-up Tom Cotter and many others. The always popular Comedy SmACKdown returns with ESPN sports caster and World Cup of Soccer commentator Bob Ley, along with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of the popular Morning Joe on MSNBC. Public performances and events take place at Nantucket Dreamland and Nantucket VFW.

Dick Cavett, images. West LA.

Dick Cavett. Photo courtesy of Nantucket Comedy Festival.

Patron Passes and individual tickets on sale NOW.

Proceeds benefit the remarkable kids’ confidence-building program Stand Up & Learn. For details and to buy tickets, visit www.NantucketComedyFestival.org or call 508-680-1422

About Nantucket Comedy Festival

Nantucket Comedy Festival supports and further develops the remarkable Stand Up & Learn educational program, designed to inspire creativity, collaboration and self-confidence in young participants through comedy and performance. Year-round workshops welcome kids from 8-18 to create and collaborate with fellow students then perform their routines for family and friends. NCF’s workshops for kids have been held since 2009 in cooperation with public and private schools on Nantucket and elsewhere.

A Stand Up & Learn workshop the week before the festival will end with a performance by the students. “This isn’t just about comedy,” said Kevin Flynn, founding executive director of the festival. “It’s about helping kids tap into their creativity and gain self-confidence.”

For more information, latest performance schedules and festival admission, visit the Nantucket Comedy Festival and Stand Up & Learn website at www.nantucketcomedyfestival.org.