They’ve titled their dances “edge of the world,” “Head First,” and “plonger das l’éternité” — dive into eternity. They’ve drawn inspiration from the words of Rumi and C.S. Lewis: “Let yourself be silently drawn” and “There are far, far better things ahead.” UCSB’s senior dance majors are poised at the edge of their lives as students, and they’re gathering courage for the big plunge.
Last Saturday at UCSB’s Hatlen Theater, four members of this year’s student company presented original choreography alongside the work of department faculty members in Becoming Forever, a show with a name that captured the heady mix of anticipation, transformation, and grandiosity that befits this phase of life. The program opened with Meredith Cabaniss’s “edge of the world,” a sextet that drew on the music and fashion of 1920s Paris and got at both the glittering surface and the undercurrent of despair. Five dancers tangled with cords of light in Sarah Eichler’s “Head First,” struggling to free themselves of the constraints and diving repeatedly to the floor. Student choreographer Alyse Romano drew on her extensive ballet training for “Embers,” a stark, Balanchine-inspired work set to a driving, original score by William Pasley. And Yvette Johnson took on the universe in “plonger,” where projected images of deep space soared past as five dancers balanced on their tailbones, reaching their fingers and toes for the heavens.
Projections also featured in “Sight of Hand,” a work for nine dancers created by department faculty members Valerie Huston and Jerry Pearson. Here, floating mandalas mirrored the spinning onstage. Eddies and whirlpools returned in faculty member Nancy Colahan’s “Deep Currents,” a kinetic work for the entire student company of 12. Here, the evening’s choreographers got a chance to take the stage for their own eternal moment beneath the lights.