This year has seen some of America’s most renowned modern dance
companies come through town, from Alvin Ailey American Dance
Theater this winter to the upcoming performance by Paul Taylor
Dance Company in April. But the Santa Barbara dance scene is not to
be overlooked, with performances by modern dancers, ballet, and
even ballroom gracing the stage. Dance, although gorgeous in
performance, is not merely a spectator sport. This spring offers
opportunities for even the faint of heart to take a step or two,
whether it is a dollar class to celebrate dance day, or a
masterclass with some of dance’s modern masters. Summer, as well,
is just around the corner, and Summerdance just announced its
no‑longer‑secret guest, Mikhail Baryshnikov (tickets on sale April
Sacred Music and Dance with the Tibetan Monks of Gaden
Shartse Monastery In Tibet, performance is sacred and even
observing the monks perform is a transcendent meditative event.
This evening is part of a multiday visit that includes creating a
sand mandala and lectures about Buddhist Tibet. Wed., Mar. 29,
7:30pm; MultiCultural Center Theater, UCSB; $10; 893 8411.
State Street Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Shakespeare’s classic tale of fairies and love, magic and jealousy,
marriage and mystery is set to the music of Mendelssohn and
choreographed by State Street Ballet Artistic Director Rodney
Gustafson. The evening will also include the Russian romantic
revival of the mythic “Esmeralda” as well as the fiery and classic
“Flames of Paris” recalling the French Revolution with music by
composer Boris Asafiev. Sat., Apr. 1, 8pm and Sun., Apr. 2, 2pm;
Lobero Theatre; $24 $44; 963 0761.
Summerdance Baryshnikov tickets on
sale Summerdance Santa Barbara is opening its 10th season with
a performance by Mikhail Baryshnikov. Baryshnikov and the Hell’s
Kitchen Dancers will be making their only Southern California stop
at the Lobero, and will perform work by Aszure Barton, who was in
residence at last year’s Summerdance festival. Performance dates
are June 21 23, with a benefit reception for Summerdance June 23.
Tickets on sale Sat., Apr. 8, noon; Lobero Theatre; $50 $65, $150
(Summerdance benefit reception); 963 0761.
BASSH: Ballroom, Argentine Tango, Swing, Salsa, &
Hip Hop One of the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance’s most
lively events, BASSH brings together otherwise disparate elements
of the dance community to show off their talent and passion. More
than 100 dancers and dance instructors take to the stage to kick up
their heels in one of the year’s most exciting dance events. Become
a patron and join the dancers on stage for a post performance gala.
Sat., Apr. 8, 8pm and Sun., Apr. 9, 7pm; Lobero Theatre; $18 $50;
Ephemeral/Indelible: A Concert in Motion The
UCSB Dance Department leaps into spring with this season’s offering
of graduating student compositions along with a new restaging of
some classic choreographic works. Professor Emeritus Alice
Condodina has directed and adapted legend José Limón’s acclaimed
“Psalm” for the university dancers. Condodina was one of the
principal dancers with Limón’s company, and performed “Psalm” in
its 1967 premiere. Accomplished students Blake Hennessy York,
Nicole Helton, Cherise Richards, and Gina Schmidt will be
presenting new work under the direction of faculty member Stephanie
Nugent. Thu. Sat., Apr. 13 15, 8pm; Hatlen Theatre, UCSB; $13 $17;
Rhapsodies for Humanity Music is written in on
the dance card with performances by Stephen Kelly for this benefit
for SonneBlauma Danscz Theatre. The company focuses on contemporary
dance with soul, movement that originates from emotion to tap into
our shamanic nature. At the benefit, SonneBlauma will present the
Glorious Being Award. Fri., Apr. 14; Music Academy of the West; $22
$25; 569 0389 or sonneblauma.com.
Westmont Fringe Festival With a creative and
devotional spirit, Westmont faculty and students present a montage
of theater, dance, and performance art in their spring festival
held in the newly renovated Porter Theatre. Thu. Sat., Apr. 20 22,
8pm and Apr. 22, 2pm; Porter Theatre, Westmont; $5 $10; 565
Rite of Spring The Santa Barbara Dance Theater
breaks the barriers of modern dance for its spring fling combining
movement, puppetry, video, and spectacle for three dramatic works.
“Artifice” superimposes video and dance to explore perceptions of
beauty, shape, and the natural world, “Rite of Spring” is a new
version of Stravinsky’s moving score exploring a puppet’s
sacrifice, and “Holding Pattern” features dancers stunt diving
through hip hop. Fri., Apr. 21, 8pm; Lobero Theatre; 963 0761.
Santa Barbara Dance Day Have you always wanted
to take a dance class, but thought you had two left feet? Shake off
your shoes, and collect your change. Santa Barbara dance studios
are offering classes for less than the price of a cup of coffee —
merely one dollar — to celebrate National Dance Week and to
convince you that anyone can dance. Sun., Apr. 23, all day; $1 per
class; 966 6950 or sbdancealliance.org.
Paul Taylor Master Class Paul Taylor’s company
is one of the country’s institutions of modern dance, yet always
innovative. Take your dance to a new level in this masterclass, or
just come to watch the raw edge of dance. Tue., Apr. 25, 7:30
9:30pm; Santa Barbara Ballet Center; $5 $10; 966 6950.
Paul Taylor Dance Company Living legend Paul
Taylor, choreographer, dancer, and icon, is still in the midst of
celebrating 50 years of his dance company with a tour of all 50
states. Thankfully, Santa Barbara is one of the stops. Taylor
continuously pushes the edges of modern dance, with lively dancers
and inspiring choreography. Wed., Apr. 26, 8pm; UCSB’s Campbell
Hall; $19 $40; 893 3535.