There’s a party going on this Saturday, October 6, and you’re invited. In fact, if you’re downtown between 1 and 4 p.m., chances are you’ll find yourself in the midst of the revelry, whether you meant to or not. That’s because it’s the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance’s annual Dance Day celebration, an afternoon when more than 20 companies will hold free, outdoor performances from Figueroa Street to the Funk Zone. Here are three reasons to head downtown and check it out:
1. The Variety: From Afro-Brazilian to belly dance, aerial to modern, and capoeira to country, Dance Day is a chance to check out the wide variety of dance forms and artistic collaborations going on all around us. Among the companies scheduled to perform are Santa Barbara Dance Theatre, Got Country?, the Montecito School of Ballet, Panzumo, S.B. International Folkdancers, SonneBlauma Danscz, La Petite Chouette, and the Dzhamala! Dance Ensemble. There’s no other event that brings together such a range of dance styles — Terpsichore would be proud.
2. The Surprise Factor: Dance tends to take place in studios and theaters, but on Dance Day, it gets busted out into unlikely places. Look for dancers on street corners, in parks, beneath archways, and inside restaurants and retail stores. The fun begins at 1 o’clock at the courtyard outside Marshalls, where Mayor Helene Schneider will make a proclamation. From there, wander over to the Karpeles Manuscript Library, check out the upstairs patio at Paseo Nuevo Mall, and stop by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Some of the venues are top secret: There’s a flash mob planned for various locations throughout the afternoon, including somewhere east of the freeway, where Dance Day coincides with the daylong Focus on the Funk Zone festivities.
3. The Ticket Price: It’s not often you can see this many performances in one afternoon and not have to pay a thing. Thanks to the Dance Alliance, the County Arts Commission, and the City of Santa Barbara, Dance Day is totally free to the public. There will also be a range of free mini dance classes to attend, so dress appropriately, bring some friends, and plan to do some of your own dancin’ in the streets.