Santa Barbara was fortunate to be one of only three cities on the U.S. tour of Spain’s national dance company, Compañía Nacional de Danza de España (CND), for its production of Johan Inger’s contemporary retelling of the classic Carmen. After the opening night ballet performance on March 6 at the Granada Theatre, major donors of UCSB’s Arts & Lectures gathered upstairs for a lovely soiree with the dancers.
Arts & Lectures Executive Director Celesta Billeci welcomed the donors and introduced the dancers. Kayoko Everhart, who enchanted the audience with her portrayal of Carmen, shared how she was born in Japan but moved to Tacoma, WA at age seven, which is when she began to dance. Her career lead her to San Francisco, Tulsa, and then Madrid, where she has been for nearly 14 years. After a short Q&A, the dancers dined while guests mingled and enjoyed food and wine as well.
In addition to doing two Carmen performances and the donor reception, CND dancers also taught a couple of dance classes at UCSB, another at Santa Barbara High School, and in conjunction with Gustafson Dance, presented yet another class to the general public.
Arts & Lectures frequently arranges for its visiting artists and speakers to participate in community education and outreach activities. For K-12 students, all types of artists and speakers visit schools for assemblies, workshops and clinics. Through its Arts Adventures Program. children attend performances at the Granada Theatre. Since launching in 2016, this program has featured astronaut Scott Kelly, Bessie Award-winning tap troupe Dorrance Dance, Grammy-winning La Santa Cecilia, and highly acclaimed Pilobolus Dance Theatre.
For UCSB students, Arts & Lectures offers a plethora of opportunities. About half of the visiting artists and speakers participate on campus in Q&A sessions, master classes, workshops, or other activities. Recent examples include a conversation with former Vice President Joe Biden, a reception with actor George Takei, and a playwriting workshop with novelist Zadie Smith. Also, students get reduced price or free tickets to many public events.
For the general public, there are conversations with the speakers and artists outside of their main events. Dance troupes do Q&A’s after the performances, masterclasses that are open to the public, and community dance classes.
For the Latino community, the ¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! Program offers five performances annually in each of three locations: Santa Barbara, Isla Vista, and Guadalupe. This program is a partnership with Isla Vista School, the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center and the Marjorie Luke Theatre.
For more information about Arts and Lectures generally, go to artsandlectures.ucsb.edu. For more info about their outreach and education programs, click on the Community tab.
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