Acrobatics and tasty foods in Peñasco

'Regeneration' set to raise funds for Summer Youth Arts Workshops


The Peñasco Theatre Collective is joining creative forces with pastry chef Ki Holste of the Sugar Nymphs Bistro for a cabaret fundraiser that includes a slice of Cosmic Berry Chantilly Cream Cake with white chocolate buttercream frosting and classic salted caramel French truffles. The performances, which will happen all around attendees' tables, include Chinese acrobatics, local musicians, dancers and aerialists.

This year's annual event is titled "Regeneration," and its mission is to help raise funds for PTC's Summer Youth Arts Workshops. It is happening Friday (April 6) at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $25.

The Peñasco Theatre Collective Summer Youth Interdisciplinary Arts Workshop is a low-cost community outreach program that offers the interdisciplinary arts experience of a lifetime for area youth. It is inclusive of the diversity that represents Northern New Mexico.

Allessandra Ogren, who is shepherding the event for PTC, is an accomplished performer in many aspects of theater and circus performance with extensive experience in multiple genres of the performing arts, teaching circus arts in the United States and internationally.

Chef Holste said, "Alessandra has traveled the entire planet performing and teaching, the local camp is an amazing experience for our kids … she is a treasure for our community, magic and self-esteem."

The curriculum for the camp is a creative exploration for youth that teaches through many artistic mediums. These include aerial trapeze, physical theater, such as clowning, juggling, poetics, including writing and performing, painting and puppet- making, folk and fabric arts, gardening, flamenco, hip-hop and other dance and movement-based disciplines. Except for guest teachers, all artist-educators involved in the camp are community-based.

Holste said, "There is nothing more beautiful than watching kids learn how to use 5-foot stilts, and then walk with them for the first time." She said that the cabaret supports the continuation of the camp and community. It goes where it is needed, so anyone can attend, no matter what their financial status is. Everyone can participate.

Other performances for the evening include PTC artists and aerialists Freyr Marie, Ogren and Serena. Kata Starsiak will perform acoustic guitar; she is a veteran of the PTC summer program herself.

Picuris Pueblo-based band Red Rage with Daniel Sam and family along with Española musician, singer, and songwriter Katy Jackson will be performing original songs. Jackson is also a camp veteran, who has been a counselor in the summer program.

Additionally, an exceptional ballet will be performed by dancer and creative director of Ballet Taos, CJ Bernal. He will perform an original dance piece.

According to BT's website, Bernal spent his formative years in Taos and later attended Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. His focus includes several different techniques and genres of dance from modern and contemporary dance, Suzuki Method Acting and Butoh.

He has worked professionally as a dancer and choreographer for Motion Underground, Dancing Earth and Frequent Flyers. Bernal uses "the raw physicality of the human form; he has been inspired to use bodily impulse, voice, dreams, politics and everyday human interaction as a muse to create bold and exciting dance."

The Sugar Nymphs Bistro, located next door to PTC, has collaborated with and supported the cabaret for many of the 18 years of PTC's existence. Chef Kai Harper and Holste opened the Bistro in 2002 after a friend inspired them to take a road trip together to the high road country. They picked Peñasco because they wanted to be in a place where their diverse backgrounds could find a home and community activities could be nurtured.

Holste has baked most of her professional life with short stints in archival framing from time to time. Harper learned to cook professionally at the San Francisco Zen Center Restaurant, Greens. She has been a chef and restaurant consultant all of her professional career, teaching meditation painting, and sculpting in her spare time.

Both are excited about the upcoming annual fundraising event. Holste encouraged everyone to enjoy the delicious homemade desserts and entertainment because "this is local, baby." The event raises funds for a good cause with local artists musicians, and performers, and a dessert menu like no other.

Holste said she plans to have more than enough of the French truffles available for those requests for seconds, which inevitably happens. She said her truffles give you "that super chocolaty feeling, and there will be a big bowl on hand."

For more information, call (575) 770-7597. Tickets can be purchased at the door on the night of the performance or in advance online at