Conductor Frédéric Chaslin
by Dolores Mcelroy
Although he has been known to show up at parties in a rhinestone-studded cowboy shirt, cowboy hat and a pair of faux-leather shoes he got at Ross, you probably wouldn’t take The Santa Fe Opera’s Chief Conductor Frédéric Chaslin for a native Santa Fean. And you’d be right. Chaslin is a Parisian, born and bred. But he is also a deep appreciator of all things New Mexican—including the local cuisine.
“I love the local products here, the Farmers’ Market. With French cuisine, it’s all about the recipes, but with New Mexican—like Italian cuisine—it’s all about the raw products. I love the local heirloom tomatoes, the local mushrooms … and those little green chiles at Tesuque Village Market that they put in the scrambled eggs!” This is high praise from the maestro, who is a notorious foodie.
Dancing in the audience at a Monster Paws show is kind of like being trapped inside a disco ball—in a good way.
Ask the band members how they describe their music, and the answers you’ll get will be borderline transcendental. “Songs that are fun to play,” says guitarist and singer Nate Santa Maria. On the band’s Facebook page, its genre is listed as “sounds like yer winning something.” Push a little harder and Santa Maria and singer/keyboardist Isaac Kappy will divulge adjectives like “electro” and “dance-pop.” But really, their first, more nebulous descriptions do a better job at pinning down their sound. It’s just plain fun. And yes, it sounds like you’re winning.
Describing Rulan Tangen in a measured sequence of words across a page feels as impossible as trying to gather a river in one’s arms. This isn’t just because of her impressive curricula vitae. Not just because Dance magazine listed her as one of the top 25 to watch in 2007, nor because she is the founder and director of the first primarily indigenous dance company in the country. It’s not just because she’s done choreography for Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto as well as the New Line Cinema production of New World, with Colin Farrell.
And it’s not really because she’s a successful ballet dancer, actress, model, modern dancer, activist, teacher, choreographer, director and lecturer. Rather, it’s because this white space would best be filled with music and motion. With color and light and sound. If the intangible could be wrestled into tangibility and laid out on this page, you might begin to understand who Rulan Tangen truly is. Maybe.
By her own admission, she wasn’t always so enigmatic. “When I was 11, I was listening to Ravel’s Bolero on the radio,” she says, then pauses for a fraction of a second before musing, “or maybe Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet….” There’s a hint of a question mark at the end of that sentence, but it quickly fades as she recalls that in that moment, she saw her whole life. Continue reading