Knowing just the right moment to leave a party is an astute exercise in social awareness, and Jessica Lang subscribes to the philosophy that one should always exit on an upswing. After seven seasons of prolific work as the founder and artistic director of Jessica Lang Dance, Lang announced she would be dismantling the company come spring to focus on independent projects. Thanks to the programming prowess at UCSB Arts & Lectures, their 19-city farewell tour made a one-evening stop at The Granada Theatre on Thursday, February 21, where Lang laid bare a dazzling catalog of work as versatile as the dancers themselves.
Company members Kana Kimura and Jammie Walker echoed grace and towering presence in their respective solos “The Calling” and “Solo Bach,” before blending seamlessly into their ensemble roles in “Thousand-Yard Stare,” a tableau of movement precariously cooperative and delicately balanced, with waves of a Beethoven score floating in and around the formation of human hieroglyphics.
Adaptability is what the Jessica Lang dancers have come to be known for, and nowhere was that trait more evident than in Lang’s final piece of the evening, an ode to the music of Tony Bennett titled “This Thing Called Love.” Bursting onto the stage with finger-snapping vibrancy and infectious optimism, the dancers leapt and slid in uniform ease as audio quips of Bennett himself offered insight into his method and motivation. True to form, Lang exited on an upswing, and the crowd jumped to their feet in roaring approval.