After an 11-year hiatus, the SBCC spring dance concert made its triumphant return to the Garvin Theatre, home turf for the newly minted SBCC Dance Company, who bared their technical range in a powerhouse program that underscored the dancers’ palpable hunger for expansion. To say that department head Tracy Kofford is making good on his promise to expose his dancers to diversified approaches is a story half told; he’s also sanctifying community ties through dedicated collaborations with both emerging artists and seasoned choreographers. The effect is a satisfying study in unified and clearly outlined perspectives — an opportunity for Santa Barbara audiences to take in the diversity of its area artists.
Highlights included Weslie Ching’s “We Are Made of Stars” and Shelby Lynn Joyce’s “Until East Meets West,” where sharply focused movement made full use of the larger stage, flooding their reprises with energized intensity, while Brooke Hughes Melton presented the sensually edgy “Echo Chamber,” set to a pleasing soundtrack and costumes of her own design. Through flowing hair and quiet strength, Kofford’s award-winning “Intersecting Fugue” invoked the mysticism of the female siren — a stark contrast to Jerry Pearson’s textured, high-velocity “Bash” — both managing to convey an authentic sense of strength through their emotionally charged dancers.
Guest companies from Los Olivos Dance Gallery (“The Trooper”) and Santa Barbara Festival Ballet (“Emboîté”) rounded out the program with a fresh set of student dancers — the latter offering up a whimsical, en pointe number with a 1950s shop-girl vibe that left the audience chuckling with delight.