Trafficking in Dreams

Looking Within the In

At UCSB’s Ballet Studio Theatre, Saturday, March

The four choreographers showcased in Looking Within the In took
dance in four visually dramatic and exciting directions. The first
composition, “Traffic,” was choreographed by Beth Dobinson and set
to music by the Robin Cox Ensemble. The dancers’ purposeful
alternating movements and parallel gestures evoked the organized
chaos of bees entering and leaving a hive. While the gesture of
driving a car may have seemed too obvious, the final image of a
deliberate glance, in unison at the audience, was compelling.
Without even seeing the title, it was apparent that Erin Simmons’s
“In Light and Dreaming” came from the dream world. After her
sinuous opening solo, Heather Carney slipped into a candlelit
bathtub. The music then segued into a tribal soundtrack, and the
stage was populated by leaping, cartwheeling dancers. Michele Wong
took a shamanic turn before leading Carney back into the fray. The
dream continued with the company performing in black tuxedos, black
tutus, and even two in toe shoes. The ensuing party was a
delightful play of partner work. The whole piece was a visual
thrill that kept the viewer engaged until the final moment, in
which the dancers were laid bare, stripped to their underwear.

“Inside My Head” took viewers literally into the chatter of
choreographer Anisabel Perez’s thoughts as the dancers recited her
internal prattle. The gray-clad dancers partnered with a gray,
transparent box, and formed a pyramid to allow one to enter. The
grace of the dance belied the vocal chatter. Perez even added some
humor, as the dancers “shhhhed” each other at the end, and one
announced, “I can’t stop moving.”

Choreographer Brittani Karhoff explored the emotional dynamics
of her relationship with her father in “A Breath of Air” through
partner work and verbal expression. Karhoff also explored the
relationship between dancers and musicians in her effective
collaboration with Music Department graduate students Devin Burke
on cello and Mark Lybarger-Monson on piano. The duet between
Cherise Richards and Marcos Duran was a particular highlight.
Overall, this intimate program left no doubt that these are four
exciting artists to watch.


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