Swish, swish, thump. Listen carefully, and you might hear the feverish sounds of Santa Barbara dancers tapping and leaping in studios across the city as they put the final touches on their entries for this year’s HH11 Dance Festival. Now in its fifth year, this lively celebration of “art in motion” will once again offer dance audiences the opportunity to take in a sweeping variety of genres and approaches, and area dance companies are busily prepping for the occasion.
“At the end of every festival, I wonder how we could possibly make it better,” said festival director Devyn Duex, “and then every year the level of new talent just blows us away once again.”
From Thursday, February 28, through Sunday, March 3, dancers throughout California — and from as far away as Hungary — will flex and hinge their bodies around disciplines that include modern dance, contemporary ballet, East Indian classical dance, and tap, as well as dance film and performance art. Center Stage Theater (751 Paseo Nuevo), will provide the intimate setting for the four-day event and, at just over 125 seats, will give the audience an up close and personal look into the intricacies of the kinetic arts.
“I love to show dance films in a live dance fest,” said area filmmaker Robin Bisio, who will be showcasing three collaborative film works throughout the weekend, including her highly acclaimed What Green Altar, which will be projected against the side of the theater during Friday’s event. “It’s so rewarding on so many levels to share dance films with a discerning audience.”
The festival will kick off on Thursday with the presentation of the HH11 Apogee Awards, honoring community leadership in dance advocacy and education, followed by three days of showcase — format dance performances with a distinctive selection of works each night. New to 2019 is the addition of a Friday Mix and Mingle event, where a food and cocktail reception on the theater’s terrace will be followed by a tightly curated, 55-minute evening of dance before progressing over to the Bobcat Lounge for a lively after-party. “We want to reach new dance audiences,” stressed Duex, “and what better way to do that than to make an evening of dance appealing and approachable to all types of aficionados.”
For tickets and info, see centerstagetheater.org.