“It’s important to me that our community knows that Santa Barbara Dance Theater is continuing to commission, create, and perform great works of dance art,” said the company’s artistic director Christopher Pilafian. With its upcoming performance, Anima and Animus, the only professional dance troupe in the UC system certainly speaks to that mission, with gender as the thematic thread that runs through all of the pieces.
“We’re talking about external appearance and the internal relationship to gender, what Carl Jung referred to as the anima and animus,” said Pilafian. “Gender is traditionally viewed as a binary construct but is becoming less so in our contemporary culture. Romantic love, the maturation of the individual, the recognition of the self as reflected in the world, the recognition of the self in the Other — all these elements are connected to gender.”
The program is composed of pieces by guest choreographer Rebecca Lemme, Pilafian, UCSB Theater and Dance Assistant Professor Brandon Whited, and Martha Graham–trained dancer/choreographer Jane Dudley, as restaged by UCSB Theater and Dance lecturer Nancy Colahan.
Of her piece, “Witnesse,” Lemme said it is “inspired by ancient symbols of female power; the work rejects the notion that vulnerability and power are mutually exclusive.” Whited explained his “Petit Pas” as “a contemporary exploration of the duet form [that reframes] the balance of power and agency, [and revisits] the gender-centric roots of the [duet].” Colahan’s take on Dudley’s “Cante Flamenco” explores the gender conflict through the Spanish dance form, and Pilafian’s “Mystique” is a nod to his mentors, most of whom have been “tremendously accomplished, vivid female artists,” he said.
S.B. Dance Theater performs Anima and Animus January 13-14, 19, and 21 at 8 p.m. and January 22 at 2 p.m. at UCSB’s Hatlen Theater. Call 893-3022 or see theaterdance.ucsb.edu.