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This year’s Configuration, the 22nd annual showcase from area dance studio Santa Barbara Dance Arts, lives up to its name with chorography featuring unique and impressive formations of dancers requiring strength, flexibility, and grace. The program of teen and tween dancers showed off choreography from Director Alana Tillim, and Competition Team Director, Lauren Serrano, as well as student-devised pieces.
Tillim introduced the show as being bittersweet because the company is saying farewell to 10 graduating seniors who will be heading off to college. Several of the performances illustrated the emotions of these painful goodbyes, but also excitement for the future. A video of the senior dancers, directed by Brittany Sandoval and choreographed by the students, called Like you’ll never see me again, addresses the idea of living life with the passion of experiencing things for the last time.
While there was focus on the departing students, there was a fair mix of upbeat numbers as well, showing the fierceness of contemporary dance, the fun of hip-hop, and the beauty of jazz. The vibe of the entire showcase was celebratory, culminating in a series of mash-up numbers of music through the eras that has inspired the dancers and choreographers alike.
Though students are growing up and leaving SBDA, as Tillim pointed out, Santa Barbara Dance Arts remains a supportive community of dancers and alumni. Tillim recognized the alumni in the audience, as well as the original SBDA director, Stephen Lovelace, who was also in attendance.
Configuration 2020 has three more performances: Friday March 13, 7 p.m., and Saturday, March 14, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., at Center Stage Theater. See centerstagetheater.org.