January may mark the official start of the year, but September launches the arts season. This fall, dance gets a kick start from the popular Flamenco Arts Festival, now in its 11th consecutive year and still bringing superstars of the form to Santa Barbara. This year, it’s flamenco pianist and dancers Rosario Toledo and Joaquín Grilo. They’ll be at the Lobero Theatre for one night only, Saturday, September 25. Experienced flamenco dancers can learn from the masters in advanced choreography workshops held at the Santa Barbara Ballet Center on Sunday, September 26.
The following week, the Marjorie Luke Theatre will be transformed when the Bellydance Superstars bring their flashy new fusion show Bombay Bellywood to town on Thursday, September 30. See lobero.com for details. Speaking of eye-catching spectacles, no dance troupe elicits audience responses like acrobatic innovators Pilobolus Dance Theater. They’ll be at the Granada on Thursday, October 7 courtesy of Arts & Lectures.
Wondering what our hometown companies have to offer this season? Look no further than community-minded Ballet Santa Barbara. They’ll be at the Lobero Theatre Tuesday, October 19 through Thursday, October 21, offering free shows for school children as well as a public performance and demonstration of teaching approaches on Wednesday evening, October 20. Then on Saturday, October 23, Santa Barbara City College hosts dance instructors from across the genres for the SBCC Dance Festival. It’s a daylong extravaganza fundraiser with classes offered in belly dance, tango, hip-hop, and more. Find them on Facebook for more info. That same evening, State Street Ballet opens its production of Romeo & Juliet at the Granada. The company’s rendition sets original choreography by Rodney Gustafson to the original Prokofiev score, and runs Saturday, October 23 and Sunday, October 24.
After Shakespeare’s classic love story, prepare for a total change of pace when Japanese butoh group Sankai Juku takes the Granada stage on Thursday, October 28 courtesy of Arts & Lectures. They’ll be performing Tobari—As if in an inexhaustible flux, and those unfamiliar with butoh will get a chance to witness the art form’s slow, mesmerizing, and constantly shifting nature. After Tobari, Arts & Lectures mixes it up again with the recently founded Spanish company Corella Ballet Castilla y León on Monday, November 8 at the Granada, where they’ll perform a new work by Christopher Wheeldon. On Wednesday, November 17, the Granada hosts America’s beloved modern dance troupe Paul Taylor Dance Company.
SBCC isn’t the only educational institution that’s in on the dance action this season: the Westmont Windancers will perform at the college’s Porter Theatre Thursday, November 18 through Saturday, November 20, and the UCSB Dance Department has plans in the works for a fall dance concert in late November. Check theaterdance.ucsb.edu for more information closer to the date.
On Thanksgiving weekend, Santa Barbara’s SonneBlauma Danscz Theatre will be holding an open studio showing at the Montecito School of Ballet on Saturday, November 27. Enjoy snacks and lively discussion, and bring an attitude of gratitude.