As rich as the Bradenton area has always been in the performing arts, Robert de Warren said, there was one genre that was lacking.
"Sarasota and Bradenton have a lot of classical dance," he said, "but we don't have a lot of the top names in contemporary dance."
DeWarren, the president of the SIDF, is hoping to change that with the Sarasota International Dance Festival, and this weekend's program, titled "Lifted," at the Sarasota Opera House.
The festival, and "Lifted," aim to present a wide spectrum of contemporary of dance, from ballet to hip-hop.
The program includes Drew Jacoby, an internationally renowned contemporary ballet dancer who is also the co-producer of "Lifted." She'll dance with Medhi Walerski, originally from the Paris Opera and now a principal dancer/choreographer at the Netherlands Dance Theatre.
"Lifted" also includes Lil' Buck, a street dancer who has appeared with Yo Yo Ma and Cirque du Soleil. He'll perform his most famous work, "Dying Swan," accompanied by Russian concert cellist Nina Kotova and Sarasota's Lee Dougherty Ross.
Also on the program are Meredith Webster and David Harvey of Alonzo King's company Lines, and Bryan Arias, a magical artist who has performed with the Netherlands Dance Theatre.
Details: 8 p.m. April 15, Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave,, Sarasota. Tickets: $25-$95. Information: 941 328-1300, www.sarasotainternationaldancefestival.org.
-- Marty Clear