It seems the landscape of dance is always shifting movement is in the nature of the art form. Here in Santa Barbara, where the recent announcement that the city’s annual Summerdance festival will not continue has sent a tremor through the performing arts community, all eyes are now on UCSB’s Arts & Lectures calendar for world-class dance programming, and A&L has come through with the goods.
They are bringing New York’s hip, audacious Stephen Petronio Company to Campbell Hall in January, followed by Chunky Move the high-octane Australian contemporary dance ensemble that’s creating an international buzz. In the meantime, Dianne Vapnek and Laurie Burnaby of Summerdance Santa Barbara will be honored for a decade of bringing memorable and even monumental dance performances and classes to the community.
New Works Each January, the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance presents a showcase of fresh new choreography chosen by a panel of judges to represent the quality and range of work being produced in Santa Barbara. New Works 2007 includes solo and group works ranging in style from the classically inspired to the athletically contemporary, covering topics from medieval romance to the events in Abu Ghraib prison. Fri., Jan. 12 ‑ Sun., Jan. 14, 8pm. Center Stage Theater, Paseo Nuevo. $16‑$20. 963‑0408.
Motional Stories Santa Barbara Dance Theater has its sweet 16 this year, and the company is facing an exciting season with its first-ever international tour planned for Wales, Ireland, and China in spring 2007. Next week, they’ll be presenting Motional Stories, a show that includes two new works by artistic director Jerry Pearson — “Romeo and Juliet” and “Dumb Stories” — as well as three revivals from past repertory. Thu., Jan. 18 ‑ Sat., Jan. 20, 8pm, and Sun., Jan. 21, 2pm. UCSB’s Hatlen Theatre. $13‑$17. 893‑3535 or www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Stephen Petronio Company Petronio’s nine-member, New York-based company has long been known for its bold and arresting physicality and overt sensuality. More than 20 years since the group’s foundation, Petronio is still riding the crest of contemporary art, combining the tenderness and intimacy of a small company with the crisp professionalism of a world-renowned dance troupe. The S.B. program will include two works set to the music of Rufus Wainwright, including one original score. Striking visual imagery and high-fashion costumes meet dazzlingly bold dancing in this highlight of the dance season. Wed., Jan. 24, 8pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. $19‑$35. 893‑3535 or www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Keith Johnson and Dancers/Nugent Dance Choreographer, performer, and contemporary dance teacher Keith Johnson, a veteran of both the Doug Varone and Bill T. Jones dance companies and a professor of dance at Cal State Long Beach, brings his company back to Santa Barbara alongside Santa Barbara’s very own Stephanie Nugent and her exquisite performers for an evening of poetic and provocative works. Choreography will include the world premiere of Johnson’s duet, “I Dream a Highway,” as well as the Santa Barbara debut of Nugent’s group work, “Frame/Reframe,” recently presented in New York. Sat., Feb. 10 and Sun., Feb. 11, 8pm. Center Stage Theater, Paseo Nuevo. $15‑$20. 963‑0408.
La Sylphide State Street Ballet often brings a distinctively modern twist to classical work, but this production of the 19th-century Romantic ballet La Sylphide takes a more traditional approach. The tragic tale of a mortal man’s ill-fated love for a supernatural beauty is set in Scotland. Artistic Director Rodney Gustafson takes his lead from the original choreography of Filippo Taglioni. Sat., Feb. 10, 8pm; and Sun., Feb. 11, 2pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. $14‑$44. 963‑0761 or lobero.com.
Fandango and Other Fantasies The city’s newest classical company, Ballet Santa Barbara, is busy turning out another full program of work for March, which will include the modern choreography of Susan Shaberman set to a live score by composer Benjamin Lees, and the contemporary solo of guest artist Carlos Fittante called “Fandango Fantasy.” L.A.-based Aida Amirkhanian, who danced with the Béjart Ballet, will perform a solo to a Bach cantata. Tue., Mar. 6 and Wed., Mar. 7, 8pm. Center Stage Theater, Paseo Nuevo. $18‑$20. 963‑0408.
Chunky Move Never before seen in Santa Barbara, this Melbourne-based contemporary company is making waves with its multimedia work, I Want to Dance Better at Parties, a dance piece inspired by a made-for-television film documentary about five men’s relationships to dancing. Sociological study meets explosive physical performance in this unusual and acclaimed series of dynamic and impressionistic dance portraits. It’s not often a choreographer addresses the fear of ridicule as well as the joy and abandon inherent in dancing, and critics agree Chunky Move pulls it off with panache. Wed., Mar. 14, 8pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall, $19‑$35, 893‑3535 or www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
BASSH The Dance Alliance is back in March with the feel-good family fun of BASSH: a showcase of local talent in the social dance genres of ballroom, Argentine tango, swing, salsa and hip-hop. Applications for consideration in the showcase are due Tuesday, January 16, with the adjudication taking place Sunday, January 21. Fri., Mar. 16 and Sat., Mar. 17, 8pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. $18‑$22. 963‑0761 or lobero.com.
Rain Québécois dance ensemble Cirque Éloize takes the drama of big tent circus theatrics and sculpts it for the stage, weaving traditional acts like juggling and trapeze into a unified dance theater performance. In Rain, which played to a sold-out Lobero in 2005, director Daniele Finzi Pasca uses the language of acrobatics to play a story of tender humanity against the awesome power of nature. Wed., Mar. 21 ‑ Fri., Mar. 23, 8pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. $45‑$55. 963‑0761 or lobero.com.