We had the good fortune of connecting with Peter G. Kalivas and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Peter G., Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Mutual Appreciation and Understanding are principles that matter to me that lead to respecting one another rather than making assumptions about each other. The more we know, the more we understand and appreciate and the more we have the potential to achieve; particularly together.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The PGK Project is my professional dance theater group with a mission to bring diverse dance styles to a wider audience. We pick non-traditional dance venues that are an extension of the community they are a part of. We believe the audience is a collaborative part of our performance and we often arrange seating in a way that encourages interaction. The curtains don’t come down at the end of our shows, a DJ plays music, our concession stays open, and people often hang out to talk to new people. Since 1994, The PGK DANCE Project’s mission, purpose, vision has centered around creating places and spaces for all bodies and all stories. To create and produce diverse dance programs and performances of the highest quality made most affordable and easily available to ALL through creative community collaborations and partnerships that promote and represent diversity in entertaining, innovative ways that educate and develop audiences for dance. Purpose: To create and maintain sustainable programming that supports dance artists and reduces barriers historic that otherwise limit public engagement with the arts. WHAT SETS us apart from others is super simple: we literally by-pass theaters which are expensive to rent and produce in which then make our shows more expensive for audiences to attend to instead produce and present our work in alternative and public spaces which are either donated altogether or far less expensive to use to then ensure our shows, activities and events can remain more affordable so more people can then enjoy and appreciate our work. These alternative spaces and places for dance must always be near public transportation, free and discounted parking options and finally striving to be relevant and determining what that entails. If the core of our mission is about comprehensive representation and presentation of diverse styles, points of view while at the same time the target audience we seek to serve seeks: art they can afford, get to/access easily by going to a more familiar space which is not necessarily a theater, including accessing via public transportation, park for free vs. incur additional costs and over the course of our show enjoy something stylistically, aesthetically or per its content they appreciate then our goal is met. We accomplish the latter by historically working with a diverse composite of dancers that reflect the public we serve: different bodies, profiles, movement all working and dancing together which represents our vision. We invite diverse choreographers working in varied styles and artistic points of view to create the work we perform which additionally serves our purpose to create opportunities for other artists while at the same time producing and presenting a landscape of diverse work to serve, celebrate and create spaces for mutual appreciation and understanding of our diverse world. Typically, when someone comes to one of our shows or events at first they are surprised to find it is affordable, in an unexpected place or space for dance and features a wildly diverse range of dancers and work at the one event. This is often paired with fun, personable staff, bar/concession and easy going vibe and atmosphere. We often have a DJ type sound operator and play fun, danceable music before and after our shows to encourage people to enjoy the place and the space well after the show portion has ended. We are creating an “experience” with PGK DANCE.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Coronado beach because it is flat and really pleasant. Just enough people but not too many and plenty of nearby spots to walk to for lunch. We would spend the rest of our time near and around Hillcrest. Urban Mo’s, Baja Betty’s and Gossip Grill to start. These are super fun, easy places for decent bar food, great drinks and both staff and customers just wanting to have fun easy times. In any of these spots a lunch can easily turn into dinner too or a bar crawl of sorts. Finally, any kind of boating on the bay for SURE! I grew up near the beach on Long Island, New York so any opportunity to be at the beach or on the bay is for me and to share the views and the San Diego lifestyle.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Mr. Alvin Ailey, founder of the world wide phenomenon, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is always someone who I acknowledge as one of the persons who encouraged me to pursue dance and who continues to inspire me today. When I first auditioned for a scholarship to train at his prestigious school in New York City, although I was one of the last dancers left after many cuts of hundreds of aspiring male dancers. Ultimately, he sent me away near the end as well but not before stopping to tell me to return once I had a bit more training that I clearly lacked at the moment to qualify to train at his school. He approached me and put his hand on my shoulder and said something I will never forget, “There is something in you, about you that I can see – that you HAVE to DANCE and I look forward to your return so I can help you work that out.” Right after I completed the program where I was training I headed right back to him to work it out and we did. I admired him in particular because of what he stood for; his integrity and idea to use dance as a tool of representation and as a platform to bring visibility to less represented bodies, stories leading ultimately to more appreciation and understanding of others and each other. THIS, was the the role and responsibility he took on during a particular time in American history where such a task is easily challenged and I admire him for his courage, strength, faith and conviction to do what he believed needed to be done.

Website: www.ThePGKDANCEProject.org
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pgkdance/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peterkalivas/
Twitter: @ThePGKProject
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pgkdance
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2BapRgz7Y6yWdoVBNmkblg?view_as=subscriber
Other: https://www.instagram.com/pgkalivas/ https://www.facebook.com/pkalivas1/

Image Credits
Photo of me: TEO Photo of the dancers: Dena Meeder Bloom

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