Arts / Performing Arts

AT&T PAC’s 2023 ‘Turn Up the Lights’ Benefit is a Social Season Standout

Inside the Joyful, Mesmerizing Dallas Arts District Affair

BY Madison Ford // 10.27.23

Aptly named Turn Up The Lights, AT&T Performing Arts Center’s ongoing fundraising event series did not disappoint on Saturday, October 21, 2023. Hosted at the Arts District’s Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre space, the night began with an al fresco serenade by Clover the Violinist. As guests emerged from a tunnel into the Performing Arts Center’s courtyard, they were met by a forest of lighted trees looming above. The sounds of an orchestral version of Beyonce’s “Cuff It” filled the air. The ambiance seemed to promise the night would be both mesmerizing — and a little sultry. 

At times, pinpointing Clover’s location within the cocktail hour crowd added to a heightened sense of mystery, as she deftly maneuvered within the sea of guests, occasionally returning to the courtyard’s “center stage.” Her willingness to bring the performance into the heart of the party allowed for a more intimate engagement with the arts from the jump. Clover’s arrangements of pop chart-toppers like Post Malone’s “I Like You” set a clear tone: tonight is not your grandmother’s benefit. 

“Our Auxiliary Board has always wanted this to be a fun, accessible, and stand-out event in the Dallas social scene, with each event a little different than the one before,” said Warren Tranquada, president and CEO of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. “By moving it into the iconic Wyly Theatre this year, they made this a highly unique evening over several levels of the building and gave our guests a chance to experience these spaces with their friends in exciting new ways.”

AT&T Turn up the lights
Clover the Violinist at Turn Up The Lights, AT&T Performing Arts Center’s ongoing fundraising event series.

Kyle Igneczi took to the mic as emcee with the exact theater-kid energy one desires from their entertainment hosts. As Executive Director of Verdigris Ensembles, a local music group that provides arts education and engages with technological innovations in their performances, Igneczi was clear about the stakes of benefits such as Turn Up the Lights.

“AT&T PAC–they really are the hub of what’s happening down here in the Arts District,” Igneczi explained. “Whether they’re providing space for companies that need a place to go–you know, that’s one of the most valuable resources for most arts organizations in town, who can’t afford or who don’t have the luxury of a brick and mortar. They provide accessibility not only for the arts groups, but the audiences to make sure that the artists are in the face and relevant to the community at large and in specific communities as well.” 

AT&T Turn up the lights
A Bravo Entertainment Performer in the Rooftop Club DJd by DJ EndoLena

After a surprise performance by UDA Samba — the four dancers descended from the upper walls of the courtyard’s slanted garden instantly charging the event with joyful energy, playful movement, and undeniable sexiness — the doors were opened to two new sub-venues. This seemed to be the nature of evening: a series of ever-opening doors throughout the night, something of a haunted house of nightlife, if the haunting was undiscovered pleasures. 

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Guests poured out of the elevators onto two floors of diverging experiences. On the 10th floor, a rooftop club provided sweeping views of Dallas; Fair Park twinkled in the distance. A human disco ball coaxed dancers out onto the dancefloor as DJ Endolena spun with endearing focus and frivolity. The pair sent the message: take this moment seriously, but not that seriously. 

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