“Bees Circling Heaven”

In the arts as in agriculture, Santa Barbara tends to produce year-round. Yet it’s in spring that we get some of the freshest, most vibrant products. This April, there’s a chance to sample new work by emerging student choreographers, as well as dance set in the ultimate springtime theater: a lush garden. Check ’em out below.

1. Blood, Thought, Muscle & Grace: That’s the title of this year’s spring dance concert over at UCSB’s Department of Theater and Dance. Faculty member Mira Kingsley directs this showcase of student and faculty choreography alongside the work of American dance great José Limón. Among the works in this program are faculty member Christina McCarthy’s “Requiem for Bubbles” — a study of grief upon the death of a beloved goldfish — and “Entropy,” created by student and scientist Alannah Pique and inspired by her studies of particles. There’s clearly some sophisticated thinking behind these works; let’s hope the blood is metaphorical. Catch the show at UCSB’s Hatlen Theater April 12-14 at 8 p.m. Call (805) 893-7221 or visit www.theaterdance.ucsb.edu.

2. Bees Circling Heaven: Fans of site-specific dance need journey no farther this weekend than Montecito’s Lotusland. Now through May 4, the fabled property plays host to Swarm: A Collaboration with Bees, a group art exhibition curated by Nancy Gifford and devoted to that curious pollinator, the honeybee. As part of Swarm, Santa Barbara choreographer and filmmaker Robin Bisio will present Bees Circling Heaven, a playful and sensual dance opera set to the live music of regional indie rock group Ghost Tiger. Stick around after the performance for a reception including honey tastings and a chance to visit the exhibition. Bees Circling Heaven features dancers Weslie Chang, Bonnie Crotzer, Monica Ford, and Kaita Lepore. The performance takes place at Lotusland’s Theatre Garden on Saturday, April 13, at 3 p.m. Reservations are required. Call (805) 969-9990 or visit lotusland.org.

3. Collective: The following weekend, April 19 and 20, Santa Barbara City College presents its first annual spring dance concert. Since being named director of dance at SBCC, Tracy R. Kofford has gone in search of opportunities for his students to interact with the greater dance community. Their show, titled Collective, reflects that emphasis and features choreography by SBCC faculty members and students, as well as work by guest artists from Radford University, Santa Barbara Dance Theater, Nebula Dance Lab, and Fusion Dance Company. Collective takes place at Center Stage Theater April 19 at 8 p.m. and April 20 at 2 and 8 p.m. Call (805) 963-0408 or visit centerstagetheater.org.


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