Our Rich and Vivid History


Misa Kelly, Stephen Kelly, and Sarah Wingren set out to establish a non-profit for SonneBlauma Danscz Theatre as well as Stephen Kelly's musical adventures. Seeking to service more than their own work Stephen suggested naming the organization the Future Traditions Foundation & they went to work designing it in such a way that the non-profit would also be able to serve other artists in the community.

The Co-Founders met with many artists in the community one on one and asked them to convey what their perceptions were with regard to their personal unmet needs. They then used this information as a springboard for drafting the bylaws of the Future Traditions Foundation (FTF.) The end result was a set of bylaws that was diverse enough to encompass the expressed needs within the community with ample growing room for a very large vision.

In November of 1998 The Future Traditions Foundation received its 501 (C) 3 status.

Wohooo - gotta love those Nolo do it yourself books!


In the early years Misa focused on launching SonneBlauma on a project to project basis, building the infrastructure of the organization and reaching out to other artists and Stephen Kelly focused on his musical endeavors under the auspices of Stephen Kelly Muusic.  During this time SonneBlauma produced workshops, studio showings and dance and music events at Center Stage Theater and the Music Academy of the West.  In addition, we were of support to other artists offering free umbrella services through the Future Traditions Foundation and through our Art Shack and Golden Gifts program remaining true to the vision of being of service to more than our own respective creative visions/needs.


In 2005 our Board of Directors decided to narrow the focus in order to better achieve the goal of growing SonneBlauma Danscz Theatre into an international dance company and get the work out there in a larger way & was that ever a fantastic decision culminating in touring to Istanbul in 2008.

2010 - Stephen Kelly comes on board

In 2010 Misa invited Stephen to join her as Co-Artistic Director of the company and he began to take a more active role as a choreographer and in an administrative and organizational capacity.

2012 - ArtBark emerges, Mojca Majcen and Trina Mannino come on board

In 2012 SonneBlauma embraces the winds of change.   Recognizing that their work was shifting from a local to global platform, was embracing more than dance, physical theater and music to include experimental and exploratory work, and that it that it was also shifting structurally to embrace more co-creative and collaborative ventures the decision was made to allow a new name to emerge and depart from hierarchical structures altogether doing away with the title of Artistic Director and organizing laterally.   At this time Mojca Majcen, who we connected with in the 2011 ADaPT Festival came on board as a co-founder of "ArtBark".  Later in 2012, when Trina Mannino returned to Santa Barbara for the Affinity Project, Stephen and Misa discussed the quality of her character and the degree of her creative ability and invited her to join the ArtBark organizational team as an East Coast organizer. 


Dance, Music, Installation, Film, Experimental Work, Performance Art, Production, Mentoring
TOURED CALIFORNIA: As a part of our 3 Cities: 3 Choreographers project they performed with collaborators Kerstin Stuart and Louis Cornejo at Diavolo Theater in Los Angeles, Shall we Dance in Pacific Grove, Project 418 in Santa Cruz, & Center Stage Theater in Santa Barbara.  The project received great press including being on the cover of LA Yoga Magazine.  This event planted the seed for the ADaPT Festival Series. 

INTERNATIONAL STATUS: In 2008 SonneBlauma became an international company traveling to Istanbul to perform at the AFL Kültür Merkezi with the Ziggurat Dance Company and to give a lecture demonstration and conduct a week long workshop at Çatı. In June of 2012 we returned to Europe as organizers and participants in RAW MATTERS: ADaPT Fest Vienna, AUSTRIA.  We also produced our Affinity II project in Paris, FRANCE. There are plans in the works to return to Europe in 2015 for the Alma Karlin Project.

THE BIG APPLE: in 2010 SonneBlauma performed in the COOL New York Dance Festival & engaged in their Perceptions of Performance in Guerilla Spaces project at the Met and MOMA.  In 2012 SonneBlauma returned to perform at Green Space Studios on the Take Root and Fertile Ground series.  They also continued their experimental explorations at the Met, MOMA and on city streets.  In 2013 ArtBark opened an office in Brooklyn, NY with NY happenings facilitated by Trina Mannino and Joanna Nobbe.   ArtBark performed in New York three times in 2013! For the ADaPT Festival Series, the Minty Project, and also for the Dragon's Egg Showing at Triskelion Arts.


2011:  SB-ADaPT (A Dance and Physical Theater) Festival 
In 2011 we produced our first international festival -  which was incredibly well received by the community. The Festival spanned 3 weeks, drew 50 + companies/independent artists and their collaborators (over 150) from 23 different cities and 5 different countries with 22 happenings occurring in 5 different venues and 3 different cities. The Festival won a prestigious indy Award for Artistic Direction which is shared by the Kellys.

2012: RAW MATTERS: ADaPT Special Fest

Yup! The ADaPT Festival sprouted in Vienna with our 2011 SB-ADaPT Fest participant Regina Picker at the helm with RAW MATTERS!  http://www.rmadaptfest.com

2013: ArtBark International & Friends: ADaPT Festival 2013
We brought the Festival home to the United States and it emerged into a tri-city Festival with happenings in Brooklyn, NY, Santa Barbara, CA and Pasadena, CA

2012: Affinity: SB-ADaPT Fest Sprouts!

As a bridge between larger gatherings we are focusing on nurturing artistic relationships established and producing events that open up energetic exchange between different cities/countries. 

In February 2012 we hosted a a Los Angeles/Santa Barbara exchange in Pasadena as well as Santa Barbara where SB-ADaPT Fest 2011 participants had a chance to gather again and share new work with each other and their respective communities.  A first of its kind in both cities.  The work we created was then taken to New York as a part of an exchange with a New York choreographer who hosted us for a shared evening of work with Perceptions Dance Company.

In July of 2012 we hosted the Affinity II project in Paris and in October of 2012 we will hosted the Affinity III Festival in Santa Barbara (in collaboration with NECTAR) and in Pasadena!  

Now that the company has evolved into an entity with collaborators living in different cities and different countries we have discovered that residencies are an EXCELLENT way to bring projects together.  We begin new work remotely than gather to piece the puzzle together and refine material. Our first residency was in 2013 at the Dragon's Egg in Connecticut for which we are so grateful. The gift of FREE space and housing for the artists in a beautiful setting unplugged from the internet!


Festivals and showcases produced by others that we have participated in include:

Santa Barbara
  • NECTAR performance series at Yoga Soup in Santa Barbara (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
  • Premiered new work on the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance's New Works concert (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013)
  • Awakenings and Beginnings Festival (2013)
  • Family/Friends/Dance Festival (2013)
  • MixMatch Festival in L.A. (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
  • Electric Lodge in Venice Beach as a part of their MAX10 series (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
  • 5x5x5 Performance Art Series in Ventura, CA at the Sylvia White Gallery (2010)
  • SpectorDance Monterey Dance Festival (2006, 2007, & 2010)
  • Green Space Fertile Ground and Green Space Blooms (2012)
  • Green Space Blooms Festival (2013)
  • Dragons Egg Annual Showing (2013)
DANCE AND MUSIC EVENTS: Produced many events in Santa Barbara and more recently in New York and Europe including:
  • Minty - a tri-city showing of new work in New York, Santa Barbara, and Celje, Slovenia
  • Rhapsodies for Humanity and the Glorious Beings Award at the Music Academy of the West
  • Paul Livingstone in Concert at Center Stage Theater
  • SonneBlauma Studio showings in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011 at the Montecito School of Ballet
  • Dance at the Top of the Hill in collaboration with Teresa Johnson at Center Stage Theater
  • Circle of Chi at the Music Academy of the West & the Unitarian Church
  • From Chopin to Senegal at the Music Academy of the West

MENTORING:  We've learned a lot and have served as mentors to artists in need. When asked we generously reach out to mentor others - no strings attached.  Examples include working with Cybil Gilbertson of NECTAR to teach her web skills, being of support to Nebula Dance Lab answering questions as they arose and providing performance opportunity.  Being of support to Block & Block providing encouragement, rehearsal space, and performance opportunities.  Hosting emerging company's at Studio Showings and providing counsel and support such as Rubans Rouge Dance Company and the Jessica Chen Project.  

Provide free professional training to low and moderate income artists in the community by opening up our company class and hosting master classes led by world class educators. 

COMMUNITY OUTREACH: In addition to working with "professional" artists we've a deep commitment to working with community members from all walks of life.  For instance, in the SB-ADaPT Festival 11 community artists ranged in age from 8 to 70 with vocational backgrounds that included a grade school teacher, a Jenny Craig Consultant, a massage therapist, a hair stylist and a professional house painter performed in Wallflower. Joining them in the work were artists in residence from Vienna and Istanbul Regina Picker and Lerna Babikyan.   In 2012 the Stewart Family joined Misa onstage for "Paint My Wrinkles Red", in 2013 our community company performed at the Awakenings and Beginnings Festival, the Kinesis concert, for 1st Thursdays, the ADaPT Festival, and the Minty project.

UMBRELLA SERVICES: FTF offers low cost umbrella services to others with past projects including Ray Tischer and his Alzheimer's Art Video project, Budhi Harlow's Dance of the Forest African Rhythm project with at risk youth, Bird Tribe's travels to participate in an event in Italy at the Art Monastery, and also to Robin Bisio for her Anemone Ball Project.

COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES: in 2008 SonneBlauma was invited by Beth Megill to come teach a master class at Moorpark College and to present work on their Spring Concert. What a joy! Since then SonneBlauma has taught a Master class at Santa Barbara City College, been a guest artist in their 2010 Spring Concert Behind the Words, produced and presented the first UCSB Alumni Studio Showing ever, been invited to give a partnering workshop at Westmont College, and also been invited to set a new work on Santa Barbara City College Dance Students.  In Fall of 2011 SonneBlauma volunteered over 150 hours setting a critically acclaimed new work on SBCC students. 

DANCE SOS CENTER: In March of 2010 we launched the beginnings of our free online dance resource center, the Dance SOS Center, which is international in scope. Our vision is for every city where dance and theater is alive to provide information about artist earnings, where to find studio space to rent, what classes are available, suitable theaters for producing shows, information about what agencies in that area fund dance, information on how to get the word out in your area. Although the Center is designed for low and moderate income level artists struggling to get their work out into the world there is a section devoted to telling the stories of those who have made it to the top and now have fully funded companies. Our first interview was with Robbie Barnett of Pilobolus. This is an ongoing project that we whittle away at in the odd hours in between our other projects.  We'd LOVE to be able to receive funding to grow this project. Until we do, this is on the back burner, waiting to be ignited!  We are thinking about turning it into a wiki resource where others could easily add data.