Performing in recitals is a rite of passage for any young aspiring dancer, mostly restricted to a particular studio or dance school. However, through the efforts of Santa Barbara Community College (SBCC) Dance Company, the audience at the Lobero Theatre enjoyed a collaborative program that included nine companies, three colleges, and two studios from Santa Barbara and Los Angeles last Friday night.
The acts mostly fell into the contemporary and modern jazz category with a range of ballet, from a tenacious and admirable pointe piece by Santa Barbara Festival Ballet to the more modern ballet of The Thacher School dance ensemble. All the companies showed an elevated level of choreography, pushing the boundaries of movement and concept, such as Weslie Ching’s physics-inspired “You (Or Someone Like You)” and L.A. Dance Moves’ “Do You Breathe Like Me?”
The SBCC Dance Company shined in two stunning modern jazz pieces: “until east meets west,” choreographed by Shelby Lynn Joyce, which began with three handheld lights that played with the dancers’ silhouettes, and “Intersecting Fugue,” choreographed by Artistic Director Tracy R. Kofford, which explored the interconnectedness of relationships. Breathtaking, each member of the company executed a level of technicality that distinguished them in the show.
Another stunning performance came from dancer Jade Cole, performing “More Revealed,” created by L.A.-based choreographer Jess Harper. The depth of emotion Cole communicated as she battled her inner demons invited the audience members to come to terms with their own struggles, a perfect example of the healing power of dance.
Contributing pieces from UCSB Dance Company, Pierce College Dance Company, the PGK Dance Project, and many more showed all of the choreographers’ talent in concept and movement. The Lobero audience was dazzled by each piece.
An incredible night brought together by Kofford and his team created a space to celebrate dance and community. After performing, dancers would sneak into the audience to watch the other acts, learning from each other and appreciating the emerging aptitude of S.B. and L.A.