Last year at this time, Santa Barbara Dance Theatre (SBDT) was not only preparing for its annual January show, the troupe was just returning from a tour of China. This April, the talented collective will head back to the Far East yet again, traveling to both China and Korea. (“The north of China was just too cold in the middle of winter!” exclaimed artistic director Jerry Pearson.) Catch them now before they head overseas again.
This weekend’s show, Dancing Here Now, will run this Thursday, January 15 through Sunday, January 18 at UCSB’s Hatlen Theatre. The show includes a revival of Pearson’s “Life Cycle of Trees,” a multimedia piece utilizing company members and the top senior dancers from UCSB’s BFA program, and features three world premieres. Faculty member Christopher Pilafian created “Between Thoughts,” which puts all eight members of SBDT onstage and uses images inspired by his own paintings, to open the show. “It’s a wonderful work that shows off the company,” Pearson said. “We have a bunch of gorgeous dancers this year, but Christopher has found a way to make them all even more beautiful.”
Pearson has choreographed two new works for the show. “Remedial Angels” is based on the idea of imperfect beings learning and striving to embrace their foibles, as well as their accomplishments. It is set to an original score for piano, viola, and percussion by composer Tim Beutler, who will perform it live with Nick Coventry. This piece will also be performed at the International Dance Festival in Seoul as part of this spring’s tour.
Meanwhile, “Voices, Finding My” explores one of the basic tenets of Modernism-discovering one’s unique expression. It began with workshop sessions where the dancers contributed their own thoughts and views from personal experiences. Together with Pearson, they developed the collaborative piece.
“I took music from my favorite voices-Bobby McFerrin, Sinead O’Connor, Sheila Chandra, Meredith Monk-more experimental artists working mainly with voice : You can feel and hear the breath. We’re even using ‘Unchained Melody,’ sung by Cyndi Lauper.”
For more information and tickets, call 893-7221 or visit theaterdance.ucsb.edu.