It seems the landscape of dance is always shifting movement is
in the nature of the art form. Here in Santa Barbara, where the
recent announcement that the city’s annual Summerdance festival
will not continue has sent a tremor through the performing arts
community, all eyes are now on UCSB’s Arts & Lectures calendar
for world-class dance programming, and A&L has come through
with the goods.
They are bringing New York’s hip, audacious Stephen Petronio
Company to Campbell Hall in January, followed by Chunky Move the
high-octane Australian contemporary dance ensemble that’s creating
an international buzz. In the meantime, Dianne Vapnek and Laurie
Burnaby of Summerdance Santa Barbara will be honored for a decade
of bringing memorable and even monumental dance performances and
classes to the community.
New Works Each January, the Santa Barbara Dance
Alliance presents a showcase of fresh new choreography chosen by a
panel of judges to represent the quality and range of work being
produced in Santa Barbara. New Works 2007 includes solo and group
works ranging in style from the classically inspired to the
athletically contemporary, covering topics from medieval romance to
the events in Abu Ghraib prison. Fri., Jan. 12 ‑ Sun., Jan. 14,
8pm. Center Stage Theater, Paseo Nuevo. $16‑$20. 963‑0408.
Motional Stories Santa Barbara Dance Theater
has its sweet 16 this year, and the company is facing an exciting
season with its first-ever international tour planned for Wales,
Ireland, and China in spring 2007. Next week, they’ll be presenting
Motional Stories, a show that includes two new works by artistic
director Jerry Pearson — “Romeo and Juliet” and “Dumb Stories” — as
well as three revivals from past repertory. Thu., Jan. 18 ‑ Sat.,
Jan. 20, 8pm, and Sun., Jan. 21, 2pm. UCSB’s Hatlen Theatre.
$13‑$17. 893‑3535 or
Stephen Petronio Company Petronio’s
nine-member, New York-based company has long been known for its
bold and arresting physicality and overt sensuality. More than 20
years since the group’s foundation, Petronio is still riding the
crest of contemporary art, combining the tenderness and intimacy of
a small company with the crisp professionalism of a world-renowned
dance troupe. The S.B. program will include two works set to the
music of Rufus Wainwright, including one original score. Striking
visual imagery and high-fashion costumes meet dazzlingly bold
dancing in this highlight of the dance season. Wed., Jan. 24, 8pm.
UCSB’s Campbell Hall. $19‑$35. 893‑3535 or www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Keith Johnson and Dancers/Nugent Dance
Choreographer, performer, and contemporary dance teacher Keith
Johnson, a veteran of both the Doug Varone and Bill T. Jones dance
companies and a professor of dance at Cal State Long Beach, brings
his company back to Santa Barbara alongside Santa Barbara’s very
own Stephanie Nugent and her exquisite performers for an evening of
poetic and provocative works. Choreography will include the world
premiere of Johnson’s duet, “I Dream a Highway,” as well as the
Santa Barbara debut of Nugent’s group work, “Frame/Reframe,”
recently presented in New York. Sat., Feb. 10 and Sun., Feb. 11,
8pm. Center Stage Theater, Paseo Nuevo. $15‑$20. 963‑0408.
La Sylphide State Street Ballet often brings a
distinctively modern twist to classical work, but this production
of the 19th-century Romantic ballet La Sylphide takes a more
traditional approach. The tragic tale of a mortal man’s ill-fated
love for a supernatural beauty is set in Scotland. Artistic
Director Rodney Gustafson takes his lead from the original
choreography of Filippo Taglioni. Sat., Feb. 10, 8pm; and Sun.,
Feb. 11, 2pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. $14‑$44.
963‑0761 or lobero.com.
Fandango and Other Fantasies The city’s newest
classical company, Ballet Santa Barbara, is busy turning out
another full program of work for March, which will include the
modern choreography of Susan Shaberman set to a live score by
composer Benjamin Lees, and the contemporary solo of guest artist
Carlos Fittante called “Fandango Fantasy.” L.A.-based Aida
Amirkhanian, who danced with the Béjart Ballet, will perform a solo
to a Bach cantata. Tue., Mar. 6 and Wed., Mar. 7, 8pm. Center Stage
Theater, Paseo Nuevo. $18‑$20. 963‑0408.
Chunky Move Never before seen in Santa Barbara,
this Melbourne-based contemporary company is making waves with its
multimedia work, I Want to Dance Better at Parties, a dance piece
inspired by a made-for-television film documentary about five men’s
relationships to dancing. Sociological study meets explosive
physical performance in this unusual and acclaimed series of
dynamic and impressionistic dance portraits. It’s not often a
choreographer addresses the fear of ridicule as well as the joy and
abandon inherent in dancing, and critics agree Chunky Move pulls it
off with panache. Wed., Mar. 14, 8pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall,
$19‑$35, 893‑3535 or www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
BASSH The Dance Alliance is back in March with
the feel-good family fun of BASSH: a showcase of local talent in
the social dance genres of ballroom, Argentine tango, swing, salsa
and hip-hop. Applications for consideration in the showcase are due
Tuesday, January 16, with the adjudication taking place Sunday,
January 21. Fri., Mar. 16 and Sat., Mar. 17, 8pm. Lobero Theatre,
33 E. Canon Perdido St. $18‑$22. 963‑0761 or lobero.com.
Rain Québécois dance ensemble Cirque Éloize
takes the drama of big tent circus theatrics and sculpts it for the
stage, weaving traditional acts like juggling and trapeze into a
unified dance theater performance. In Rain, which played to a
sold-out Lobero in 2005, director Daniele Finzi Pasca uses the
language of acrobatics to play a story of tender humanity against
the awesome power of nature. Wed., Mar. 21 ‑ Fri., Mar. 23, 8pm.
Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. $45‑$55. 963‑0761 or