Dancers from Santa Barbara’s The Dance Network

Dance, like all artistic media, can take myriad forms. There’s the classical approach, often rooted in pointe-shoe-style ballet; the modern take, which stretches all over the avant-garde map; and traditional dancing, which explores every imaginable nook and cranny of dance’s global roots. Then there’s social dance, the approachable, amorphous realm in which the Charleston and the tango sit side by side and everyone is welcome onto the floor.

This Friday and Saturday, Santa Barbara’s long-standing celebration of social dance, BASSH!, heads to the New Vic for its biggest, boldest installment ever. Started by the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance back in 2000, BASSH! is now helmed and organized by S.B. dance community activist Derrick Curtis. Since taking the reins on the event last year, Curtis has been subtly retooling BASSH!’s show to include more area groups, highlight more S.B. community members, and, perhaps most importantly, be a way to give back.

“For the first time ever, we’re making a donation to a local nonprofit,” said Curtis via phone last week. “We’re donating a portion of the proceeds from the show to the Trudie Olsen-Curtis Foundation, which does leadership training for girls and women locally and abroad.”

In addition, this weekend’s shows will honor two of the Santa Barbara dance community’s shining stars, the Downtown Organization’s Georgette Friedman (a 2013 Local Hero) and Santa Barbara Dance Center owner David Alvarez. “Georgette is extremely enthusiastic, and she’s really excited to have her volunteers with her and participating, too,” said Curtis. “We just wanted to honor some of the people that have done outstanding work in the Santa Barbara community.”

But even for those not involved in social dance, Curtis promises a night of great entertainment — and maybe a little inspiration: “My message to the people who come to these productions is, if you see these dances and you enjoy it, do it! All it does is enhance your life and give you longevity. The body in motion stays in motion.”

Derrick Curtis Productions presents BASSH! at the New Vic (33 E. Victoria St.) on Friday, November 14, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 15, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. For more, visit or


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