Best Up-for-Anything Tech Director
Ben Levine at Dance Place
3225 8th St. NE
Before one of choreographer Tzveta Kassabova’s performances, Ben Levine and a tech crew worked for days constructing a wooden funnel-shaped set that transformed Dance Place’s stage. For another, Levine rigged up a contraption of wire and plastic sheeting that gave the impression of a rising tidal wave. And for Erica Rebollar’s February show, he and 15 helpers spent two months—much of that time off the clock—sewing 115 king-sized sheets to approximate old-fashioned theater curtains, lending a vaudeville vibe to the piece. As Dance Place’s technical director, Levine doesn’t have to go over and above the requirements of his job, which are largely grounded in nuts-and-bolts tasks like acquiring equipment for upcoming shows. But with a passion for theater’s technical possibilities and a desire to share them with dancers—who often, he says, underestimate lighting, scenic elements, and projection’s potential to transform a performance—Levine can’t help himself. Plus, he says, helping choreographers achieve their creative visions is his shot at a little artistic fulfillment, too.