Three months after the close of its triumphant 10th season, Summerdance Santa Barbara has announced it will suspend operations. Over the past decade, the annual festival has brought an unprecedented level of contemporary dance events to the community, hosting such internationally acclaimed performers as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Doug Varone, offering public classes and workshops, and providing emerging artists with the opportunity to generate new work.
Summerdance’s Executive Director Dianne Vapnek and Artistic Director Laurie Burnaby came to the decision to end SDSB’s run as a festival after reviewing their accomplishments over the past decade and recognizing a mutual sense of a completed cycle. “We believe we fulfilled our mission in creating new audiences for dance and in providing space and time for artists to create new work,” they stated in a recent letter to board members and supporters.
At the same time, the organizers acknowledge challenges inherent in Santa Barbara, such as lack of adequate professional rehearsal space and the absence of a mid-sized theater, which at times made it difficult for the festival to achieve its aims. Although the festival has seen its last season, SDSB does not plan to dissolve the non-profit altogether, and continues to explore possibilities for collaboration with other arts organizations in Santa Barbara.