Santa Barbara Dance Art’s spring performance, Configuration, may have passed, but the company’s young dancers haven’t stopped creating. On April 28 is the SBDA Student Showcase at the Marjorie Luke Theatre, a program that is designed, choreographed, and produced by the students, some as young as 8 years old. “Our senior company dancers produce the entire show on their own,” said Lauren Serrano, an instructor and director at SBDA. “For each of the dances that end up in the showcase, [the senior dancers] serve as mentors. They do all the production meetings, they handle all the communication between the dancers and the directors, they work backstage, and they call the show,” said Serrano. “They do what Alana [Tillim] and I do for Configuration.”
The showcase not only allows these dancers to experience mentorship, theatrical production, and management, it’s also a fundraiser for the Arts Mentorship Program (AMP), a nonprofit partner with SBDA that provides financial opportunities for community dancers. Serrano said that generally a portion of the money raised goes to scholarships, but it’s the students who decide how to allocate the funds. This process offers them ownership over the direct impact they have on building their performance community.
Another part of the program — what Serrano called the most inspiring aspect — is the inclusivity provided by No Limits, a dance class created for people with physical or other limitations. No Limits lets students of all abilities experience an education in performance arts. Serrano leads these classes, and her students will be performing at the showcase. “We make it a safe environment for everyone to feel comfortable on stage,” she said. “I cry every year because the joy these kids have from just moving is what dance should always be about.”
4•1•1 | SBDA Student Showcase takes place Sunday, April 28, at the Marjorie Luke Theatre, 721 E. Cota St. Call 884-4087 or see luketheatre.org.