Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Jul 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Houston, We Have A Party

ae dancetronautsBurning Man fixture Dancetronauts takes audiences on wild dance odyssey

Last year at Burning Man, there was a moment when Philip Plastina and his team of Dancetronauts found themselves surrounded by a crowd of tens of thousands of people. “To look out and see that—all of the lights, and all of the faces, and our sound system that we built by hand pumping so hard, and looking at my whole entire crew—it was the most exhilarating feeling ever,” says Plastina.

It was a satisfying payoff to a project that had taken a summer to complete, but it also served as motivation to move forward for Plastina and Dancetronauts, a Santa Cruz-based performance art group that combines professional dancers, fire performers, and artists with renowned DJs, cutting-edge stage lighting and visual effects.

Locals will have an opportunity to catch Dancetronauts live in action this weekend when they perform at UnScruz, Santa Cruz’s regional Burning Man Decompression Event, which promises to bring the spirit of Burning Man to town with eight hours of fire, dance, music, art, performances, theme camps, DJs and more.

ae dancetronauts3Dancetronauts was originally conceived in 2005, inspired by Plastina’s experiences at Burning Man. “I wanted a break from work and my break was going to be to express myself artistically, and I saw a fun way of doing it with the Burning Man outlet,” he says. “Seeing what other great minds had done at Burning Man—branching out artistically in ways that I’d never seen before—I just wanted to be part of the artistic circle and contribute something that other people were going there to see, and that inspired me to make something big, bold and new.”

But it wasn’t until 2009 that Dancetronauts truly took off. It was during that time that Plastina and his friend Travis Richards started DJing parties and events dressed in space suits, and the size of both the group and its fanbase grew substantially. Plastina (aka Captain Philthy Phil) credits Richards (aka Captain TravNasty) with the latter in particular, saying “He’s worked magic when it comes down to having that following.”

In 2010 Plastina decided to go all in, selling his construction company and investing in a new project, a truck that would later be transformed into a “mutant vehicle” known as the Strip Ship. Designed and engineered by Plastina, the vessel was built by hand from the ground up with the help of his fellow Dancetronauts, and is now the centerpiece of the group’s act.

ae dancetronauts22The group lives its mantra of “Live, Love, Laugh and Dance” by encouraging the audience to be a part of the show. “We’re a different kind of group,” says Plastina. “We’ve worked our way to this position, but we’re not performers—we’re just everyday, average people that are going out there.” He continues, saying, “We just have the passion to do it, and because of that we reflect positively on the crowd.”

Finding the 30-odd members that make up the group today didn’t happen overnight. “It’s taken us years to put our members together,” says James Plastina—Philip’s brother—who plays an integral role in the Dancetronaut operation. “Through trials and tribulations and ups and downs and yelling and fighting and finally, after years, we have been able to put together an amazing group of people. And now what we’ve ended up with is just guys and girls that love to work together. You just don’t go out and get that in one day or even a month. Our group is so incredible because it’s handmade.”

Currently, the Plastinas are excited to debut a huge, recently finished speaker project that took seven months, which will be unveiled at UnScruz. “Even though we can’t play them loud, we’re going to give people a chance to hear some of the most clean and amazing sounds that they’ve ever heard,” says Philip. “So if there are any audiophiles in the city—I know there are many—they need to come check it out. Nobody’s taken on a project this large.”

It’s an impressive accomplishment for a group that didn’t necessarily expect to enjoy this level of success. “It’s surprising,” admits James. “We never thought we’d be doing what we’re doing at this point in our lives.” Philip agrees. “I built houses,” he says with a laugh. “I didn’t expect to be dancing in a space suit up on a stage.”


Dancetronauts will perform at UnScruz, which takes place from 4 p.m.-midnight, Sunday, Sept. 30 at Santa Cruz Portuguese Hall,

216 Evergreen St., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $10/adv, $15/door with playawear or costume, $20/door with street clothes. For more information, visit unscruz.eventbrite.com.

Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by Bonefire Bob, September 25, 2012
I always luvs me some Dancetronauts, specially on a Sunday night!

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Jailbreak with Reality

‘The Stanford Prison Experiment’ revisits one of the most notorious studies of all time
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover