Not Just Intoxicating but Deeply Satisfying: “Sauced” at Art Produce

Fun seems guaranteed in “Sauced: Intoxicating Dances at Art Produce.” The half-hour show, featuring drinking-themed music and dance, includes cocktails for the audience inside, while anyone watching through the window on University Avenue gets the high of becoming part of the performance. (Masks are not required, so I chose the outside option.)

Happily, “Sauced” is not merely fun; it’s smart, complex, and superbly danced. Anyone who’s tried to playact being drunk knows it can be tricky. These seven dancers combine loose-limbed floppiness with superb control. At times, all seven do big, sweeping unison without smashing into one another or into the walls in the tiny Art Produce space.

Choreographers Erica Buechner, Bradley Lundberg, and Blythe Barton pack so much substance into this suite of dances—the energy and speed of a jive number, quick shifts in level and direction, engaging dramatic tableaux, seemingly effortless changes in the cocktail bar set; there’s even a bit where dancers bring drinks to the audience.

Buechner and Barton also perform in the piece, and it’s a joy to see Barton’s slithery, longing solo and Buechner’s high-energy hip hop duet with Jessica Rabanzo-Flores.

Naturally, drinking goes hand in hand with flirtation. Buechner and Nikki Dunnan connect with sassy Bob Fosse hips. To Keke Wyatt’s sultry cover of “Tennessee Whiskey,” Dunnan and Robby Johnson get steamy, while Nick McGhee and David Wornovitzky check each other out with playful capoeira-style moves.

And of course, there’s plenty of goofiness, like McGhee’s off-kilter turns and the four women do a giggly line dance to Kelsey Ballerini’s “Hole in the Bottle.”

FOMO alert—this is one of those have-to-get-to events. It runs tonight and tomorrow at 7, 8, and 9 pm and Sunday at 7 and 8 pm. Tickets for indoor seating, which include a drink, are $25; be advised that some shows are already sold out. However, there’s always the option of standing outside.

At the time of posting, I didn’t have any performance photos. I’ll add some when I get them.

Janice Steinberg

Award-winning dance journalist Janice Steinberg has published more than 400 articles in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Dance Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. She was a 2004 New York Times-National Endowment for the Arts fellow at the Institute for Dance Criticism and has taught dance criticism at San Diego State University. She is also a novelist, author of The Tin Horse (Random House, 2013). For why she's passionate about dance, see this article on her web site, The Tin Horse

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