BASSH: Ballroom, Argentine Tango, Salsa, Swing, and

At the Lobero Theatre, Sunday, April 9.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Schwyzer

“It just takes passion, dedication, and desire,” they claimed.
“And a lot of dance classes.” The MCs of this year’s social dance
showcase, Cathy Rice, Derrick Curtis, and Santa Barbara Dance
Alliance Executive Director Julie McLeod, hosted an evening
dedicated to highlighting the passion for dance that burns in our
community, and the devotion it takes to bring that passion to the

Adjudicated by a panel three months ago, the choreography
selected for inclusion represented everything from Nova Dance
Studio’s snappy Cha Cha and Rhumba duets to music video-inspired
hip-hop from the 12 teens of 14K Jules Dance Company. Whether you
like your men in pork pies and pinstripes and your women in slinky
sequins, or you’re more captivated by fishnet armbands and shredded
T-shirts, BASSH exhibited fashion and flair to suit all tastes,
although the dancing outstripped the costumes: Earrings flew from
ears, hats tumbled from heads, and medallions spilled from collars
as these performers went at their work with the abandon of true
zeal. Forget the thrill of the big stage, the buzz of big names,
and the lure of the big apple — this was down-home dance at its
best, and the thrill was contagious.

Romanian dancer/choreographer Alex Zagrean and his partner Jamie
Powers oozed with sensuality in the Paso Doble as they pursued each
other with sleek, polished presentation, while Fardad Michael Serry
and Julie Stillman’s Argentine Tango was less hot flash, more
subtle sizzle. BASSH regular Fay Villanueva danced a dramatically
romantic tango with Marlon Ruckle, while the inimitable Teresa
Johnson hit the stage twice: first for a Bolero and Paso Doble with
David Alvarez of the Santa Barbara Dance Center, then with Chris
Stewart for her signature Savoy Style Lindy Hop, complete with
aerial work. We even got a nibble off the big apple: Rice, who once
danced for Bob Fosse on Broadway, and McLeod, who performed in the
original cast of West Side Story, treated us to a little jazzy New
York glitz.

Between the romantic and partner-based ballroom dances, the next
generation of social dance busted out with unrestrained ensemble
breakdancing, hip- hopping, popping, and locking from groups
including Fusion Dance Company and Annihilation. “I can’t
understand the lyrics,” noted the ballroom fan beside me. That’s
probably for the best.

There’s no question how hard these dancers work to hone their
talents, or how intense is their passion, dedication, and desire.
“We bring dance to the community and community to dance,” McLeod
reminded an enthusiastic audience Sunday night. Curtis chimed in,
“You too can be up here next year dancing — if you have the
passion.” Any takers?


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