Since freshman year, they’ve had their sights set on this. To that end, these 11 senior dance majors have spent untold hours in the studio, honing their technique and rehearsing repertory. Next week, those four years of hard work pay off when the UCSB Dance Company performs its end-of-year show.
Held downtown at Center Stage Theater on Wednesday-Thursday, May 28-29, this production draws together dances by resident artists, faculty members, and student choreographers. Included on the program are works by the late José Limón dancer and choreographer Lucas Hoving, as well as contemporary New York–based artists Colin Connor and Alexandra Beller. UCSB faculty members Nancy Colahan and Christopher Pilafian also have works in the lineup, as does student choreographer and company member Hillary Bassoff.
The UCSB Dance Company comes to Center Stage fresh off a six-city tour of Italy and the Czech Republic, where director Delila Moseley said these young dancers “rose to the occasion, taking flight through the culture and environment of dance abroad and yet remaining grounded in the richness of their training in dance at UCSB.”
Among the works they’ve been honing while on tour is Hoving’s “Songs for Chile.” Originally set on the UCSB dance company in 1981, it has been restaged on the company this year and honors the strength and determination of the Chilean people. Connor’s “Corvidae,” set to the work of Philip Glass, gives the full company a chance to tackle some demanding and technical modern dance material, as does Colahan’s “A Trancing Way,” a lush and sweeping work for 11 dancers. Now a member of the UCSB department faculty, Colahan has danced for the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, as well as Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project.
Improvisation features in Beller’s “This is where it ended,” the most experimental work on the program and one created specifically for this company and set on an all-female cast of nine. Mosely described it as “powerful and mesmerizing,” also noting the work’s beautiful musical score by Latvian composer Peteris Vasks.
While this production marks the end of these 11 dancers’ undergraduate experience, it simultaneously points to their future in dance. For Bassoff, whose work “Still Waters Run Deep” is featured on this program, it seems likely that the future will include making dances as well as performing in them. For every member of the company, next week’s show is their last chance to take the stage before they launch into their careers in dance. Think of it as a more athletic and artful equivalent of tossing a mortarboard into the air. Both performances take place at 8 p.m. For tickets, call (805) 963-0408 or visit centerstagetheater.org.