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BWW Feature: Sacramento Contemporary Dance Theatre's BEHIND THE APRON Shines a Light on the Mental Health Crisis in the Restaurant Industry


BWW Feature: Sacramento Contemporary Dance Theatre's BEHIND THE APRON Shines a Light on the Mental Health Crisis in the Restaurant Industry

Who knew that Sacramento's very own sought-after, award-winning choreographer was also a burgeoning philanthropist? It's time that everyone did, because Jacob Gutierrez-Montoya's non-profit dance company is showing no signs of slowing down. In its inaugural 2015 performance, Resilience, the Sacramento Contemporary Dance Theatre (SCDT) raised $12,000 for the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. Gutierrez-Montoya created the company after finding a need to bridge the world of local charities with his medium of spreading awareness-dance.

Since that first success, SCDT has been busy. In conjunction with Hawkins School of Performing Arts, it has put on the Choreographers' Initiative, a platform that allows young choreographers to share their work. It has also performed another benefit concert, melding sign language with dance in Sign of Life, to assist the Camp Grizzly Leadership Camp for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Koda Youth.

In his latest effort, Gutierrez-Montoya has joined forces with restaurateurs Bobbin and Patrick Mulvaney of Mulvaney's Building & Loan. Born of a conversation between Jacob and Bobbin about the mental health issues plaguing the restaurant industry, Behind the Apron is an intimate look into the hard conversations that need to take place in order for it to "be ok not to be ok." The Mulvaneys started the dialogue in Sacramento following tragic occurrences with people in the business. Their brainchild, I Got Your Back, is a program designed to open the flow of communication with employees who might need help in identifying issues and finding solutions. It's a conversation that needs to happen, and quickly. According to I Got Your Back, 17% of full-time food service and hospitality employees suffer from substance abuse disorders and the rate of suicide in the U.S. increased by 30% from 1999-2016.

In true Gutierrez-Montoya fashion, Behind the Apron is a marriage of flow, form, and feeling. A mixture of ballet and contemporary styles, it will lift the veil on addiction, suicide, and mental health in the kitchen and beyond. It will leave you with hope and the knowledge that someone indeed has your back.

Behind the Apron will be performed at the Cordova High Performing Arts Center on January 18 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets may be found at Please visit for more information on the I Got Your Back program.

Photo Credit: CMYK Photography

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