What better way to ring in a new year than with dancing? For 2011, the festivities begin with a screening of Fela!, the Broadway musical theater production choreographed by modern dance great Bill T. Jones and celebrating the music of Fela Kuti. This broadcast of the London National Theatre production screens at the Music Academy of the West’s Hahn Hall on Thursday, January 13, and UCSB’s Campbell Hall on Monday, February 7, courtesy of Arts & Lectures (artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu).
Also opening on January 13, Daughter of Zion Aerial Dance (daughterofzion.net) and DramaDogs: A Theater Company join forces for Everything is Prelude, an evening of theatrical dance set to original poetry. The show takes place at Theatre D in Santa Ynez and runs through Saturday, January 22.
On Friday, January 14, the city’s long established modern dance company Santa Barbara Dance Theatre gives its 20th anniversary retrospective show at the Granada Theatre. Director Jerry Pearson will present works spanning from 1979 to 2010, and past dancers will return to perform with the current company.
The following weekend, State Street Ballet will take to the Granada stage in collaboration with the Santa Barbara Symphony for Appalachian Spring. The production features Aaron Copland’s masterpiece of a score and choreography by William Soleau and runs Saturday, January 22, and Sunday, January 23.
Dance is best enjoyed live, unless of course it’s a classic film like The Red Shoes, which Arts & Lectures screens at UCSB’s Campbell Hall on Wednesday, January 26. Arts & Lectures also brings Grupo Corpo Brazilian Dance to the Granada on Saturday, February 12, for their Santa Barbara debut. The following afternoon, Sunday, February 13, the historic Lobero Theatre will be transformed into a rain forest for State Street Ballet’s matinee production of The Jungle Book, which boasts some of the most dazzling zoomorphic costumes ever made.
Toward the end of February, the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance presents Kinesis. The annual showcase of contemporary choreography promises progressive and challenging new work, and it runs Friday, February 25-Saturday, February 26, at Center Stage Theater.
If classical ballet is more your thing, mark your calendar for Monday, March 7, when Arts & Lectures brings one of the nation’s dance jewels—Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet—to the Granada. That same week, Campbell Hall comes alive with the rhythms and colors of African Brazil when Bale Folclorico da Bahia presents an evening of vibrant dance, music, and song on Thursday, March 10.
Ever since DANCEworks (sbdanceworks.com) brought Larry Keigwin and his unforgettable Bolero Santa Barbara to the Lobero last spring, dance lovers have been waiting for the next installment. This coming March, DANCEworks is back with modern dance maverick Doug Elkins, who will be in town for a month-long residency culminating in two shows at the Lobero Theatre on Friday, March 18, and Saturday, March 19.
The winter season rounds out with a reflective evening of performances on the theme Counsel and Relationship. Part of the NECTAR series (see NECTAR on Facebook), the show takes place on Saturday, March 19, at Yoga Soup.