As the year comes to a close, there’s a chance to see what the dancers in our midst have been up to in 2011. These three December dance events showcase area talent from students to professionals and represent the full range of dance styles practiced in our community. Catch one, two, or all three — there’s no better way to celebrate the coming of a new year.
1. SBDC’s Holiday Dance Showcase: Celebrating 16 years in business, the Santa Barbara Dance Center closes out 2011 with refreshments, social dancing, and performances by instructors and students. There’s something here for every dance lover: ballroom, Latin, Argentine tango, salsa, bachata, swing, hip-hop, flamenco, hula, jazz, and world dance are all represented. Audience members will also be invited to get up and dance, and all ages and skill levels are welcome. The fun takes place at SBDC’s studios (127A W. Canon Perdido St.) on Saturday, December 3, from 6-9 p.m. For more information, call 899-2901 or visit santabarbaradancecenter.com.
2. UCSB’s Almost, Honest: The fall concert for the university’s dance department, Almost, Honest: 6 New Dances from the Heart features modern dance choreography by faculty members Christina McCarthy and Nancy Colahan alongside work by four talented undergraduates. Young dancers from the BFA program make up the cast, and students also work behind the scenes on lighting, sound, and costumes. Among the works on this program is Maggie Hurd’s “Crumbs at the Bottom,” a quintet set to classical music and incorporating five backpacks, as well as “A story about a boy and a girl trying to hold hands,” in which choreographer Larry Daniels explores themes of risk-taking and letting go of attachments. Catch this show at UCSB’s Hatlen Theater on Friday, December 2, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, December 3, at 2 and 8 p.m. For tickets, call 893-7221 or visit www.theaterdance.ucsb.edu.
3. La Petite Chouette’s Works Nouvelle: In case you haven’t made their acquaintance yet, La Petite Chouette is Santa Barbara’s only dedicated company of aerial dancers, and this December they’re celebrating a new year and a new studio. Catch them on Friday, December 9, for Works Nouvelle, an intimate evening where they’ll present eight phrases they’ve prepared for their 2012 performance season. It’s thrilling to see dancers lift off the ground, and in addition to acrobatic work, the company emphasizes floor to air transitions. Come for cocktails at 6 p.m., stay for the show at 7, and stick around at 8 for a post-show conversation with the performers and an introduction to the new studio space. Only 60 tickets are available. To snag one, call 284-8785 or visit lapetitechouette.com.