HH11 Dance Festival at Center Stage Theater

Three Days of Tap, Jazz, Hip-Hop, and More in Santa Barbara

Nebula Dance Lab’s annual HH11 Dance Festival | Credit: Kathee Miller

Now in its sixth season, Nebula Dance Lab’s annual HH11 Dance Festival rolls into Center Stage Theater February 27-March 1, bringing with it a powerhouse representation of California-driven dance. Tap, dance film, jazz, hip-hop, swing, modern, and contemporary dance will fill the intimate black-box space over the course of four evenings, underscoring the Golden State’s wide-ranging talent from Oakland to San Diego. Thirteen Santa Barbara companies will also be flexing their creative clout, along with this year’s wild card, REIDance, whose Chicago roots are reflected in their theater-based performances. 

The festival will kick off on Thursday with its annual Apogee Awards ceremony, a community event honoring dance educators that also serves as a platform for highlighting the works of Santa Barbara–based youth companies, including Santa Barbara Dance Arts, Everybody Dance Now!, and State Street Ballet Young Dancers. On Friday, the “Mix and Mingle” program will feature cocktails, live music, and an outdoor screening of filmmaker Robin Bisio’s Butterfly’s Lament before ushering the audience into the theater for a tightly curated selection of high-octane dance works.

Saturday and Sunday are reserved for the fortified dance enthusiast, as no fewer than 24 companies take the stage in works ranging from the nostalgic, such as the smile-inducing “Swing” by the Dance Network, to the investigative: Marcos Duran’s 20-minute examination of politics and generational trauma in “The Underground: Heel Skull.” Throughout the weekend, an open space forum in the Paseo Nuevo Mall’s courtyard will feature dance demonstrations and improvisational works from area talent.  

By providing spaces of exploration and exposure to companies of varying stages in their careers, program director Devyn Duex and her stalwart sidekick Heather Shea have greatly contributed to Santa Barbara’s reputation as a significant dance resource for artists and audiences alike. Through risk and perseverance, the HH11 Dance Festival has consistently ushered in artists of wide-reaching range, encouraging a dialogue between classic and experimental forms and provoking subjective discussions about aesthetics and sensibilities.

Grab a friend, pick a night or two, and join in the conversation. This homegrown festival always makes for a stimulating night at the theater. 


4•1•1 | Nebula Dance Lab’s annual HH11 Dance Festival comes to Center Stage Theater February 27-March 1. Call (805) 963-0408 or see centerstagetheater.org.

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