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Year by year, Santa Barbara’s dance scene is burgeoning. Aside from the many stellar companies that come through town on tour, our fair city produces an impressive range of homegrown productions. As 2012 draws to a close, there’s a chance to check out two of them and get a peek at two organizations that make it their business to foster homegrown talent.

1. La Petite Chouette’s Entrée des Artistes: Since she began teaching aerial dance classes here in 2006, circus artist Ninette Paloma has expanded from an artist’s loft to a Quonset hut to a spacious downtown studio. She now offers daily classes for adults and children and presents fully staged productions every year. This weekend and next, she opens her doors for a more intimate peek behind the scenes of an aerial dance company. Entrée des Artistes is a chance for curious audience members to sip wine and chat as they watch dancers stretching and warming up and then rising from the floor to the air to perform never-before-seen choreography. Among the apparatus included are the static trapeze, corde lisse (rope), and lyra (metal hoop), as well as the “invented apparatus” — a hanging metal rectangle. Tickets for Entrée des Artistes are already sold out for Saturday, December 7, so snag yours for the following week, Saturday, December 14. The studio is located at 810 East Gutierrez Street. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the show begins at 7 p.m. Call (805) 284-8785 or visit for info.

2. UCSB Dance Department’s Becoming Forever: Every year, a select group of seniors from UCSB’s dance department sits down to choose a name for the fall showcase of new choreography. Word is that the process tends to be lengthy, but according to artistic director Christina McCarthy, consensus came easily this year. Becoming Forever comprises six modern dances, four by students and two by faculty members, all of which touch on themes of time and transformation. McCarthy says this year’s student choreographers are confident artists with distinctive voices. Among them is Meredith Cabaniss, whose work “the edge of the world” looks at the “lost generation” of WWI, drawing out themes both historic and universal. “Head First,” choreographed by Sarah Eichler, uses strobe lights to represent socially imposed boundaries, while Yvette Johnson’s “plonger dans l’éternité,” explores the cyclical nature of human experience. Becoming Forever runs Thursday-Saturday, December 6-8, at 8 p.m. in UCSB’s Hatlen Theater. Call (805) 893-3022 or visit


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