State Street Ballet's <i>Evenings</i>.

State Street Ballet dancers can do more than just dance, which they proved Friday evening in their studios. The aptly titled Evenings was an informal affair where everyone seemed to know each other, and the sense of community was centered on a creatively versatile group of young dancers who comprise Santa Barbara’s only full-time professional ballet company. The dancers performed their own work in the company’s normal rehearsal space while guests filled up the lobby until there was standing room only.

The ten pieces presented were mostly premieres designed to promote the company’s upcoming season at the newly renovated Granada Theatre. Styles ranged from a classical Don Quixote variation danced by Christine Sawyer to the contemporary “Colorblind,” intricately choreographed and ably performed by Stephen Jasso with a dramatically-spiked Mohawk. “Argentine Tango,” a crowd-pleaser choreographed and passionately executed by Enton Hoxha and Alyson Mattoon, mixed several dance styles together incorporating inventive lifts and gravity-defying partnering. The final piece of the evening, Gary McKenzie’s “Piaj,” seemed to be a tribute to the French coffee house era, complete with accordions, a mime, and a love triangle. Sergei Domrachev, never afraid to ham it up, mimed his emotions to set the tone for the romanticized mood, complete with a beret and a Marcel Marceau-inspired white face. Sarah Fuhrman, a relative newcomer to State Street Ballet, danced the female lead with two separate sets of men competing for her attention.

Following the company’s triumphant role in the Granada Theatre’s opening gala on March 6th, State Street Ballet’s 2007-2008 season continues with Dancing With the Stars on June 14 at the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort. The season will conclude with the full-length ballet Carmina Burana at the Granada Theatre May 31st and June 1st, when the company will be joined by 125 singers from the Santa Barbara Choral Society and accompanied by live orchestra. Tickets are available now through the Granada box office; call 899-2222 or visit


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