The State Street Ballet’s (SSB) Gala Performance at the Lobero on Saturday, April 30, brought out the city’s dance community in all their spring finery. The company’s return to the Lobero made for a great evening of performances and a terrific morale boost for the dancers, their families, and their many fans. Six dances heralded the SSB’s versatility, ranging from the most traditional of classic ballet numbers, such as the “Wedding Pas de Deux” from Don Quixote, as danced by Marika Kobayashi and Harold Mendez, to contemporary works by Laurie Eisenhower, William Soleau, and Kassandra Taylor Newberry. Seeing these young dancers express themselves across genres and styles was thrilling and whetted the appetite for more dance soon.
TWO NIGHTS WITH THE JOFFREY BALLET
Acclaimed dance legends from The Joffrey Ballet arrive on Wednesday, May 11, for a two-night stand at The Granada Theatre, thanks to UCSB Arts & Lectures. Fresh off their 2021-22 debut season in their new performing home at the Lyric Opera House, Chicago, the Joffrey will present a pair of outstanding programs. Program One features two works by company member Yoshihisa Arai, Bolèro and Élégie Pas. Program Two on Thursday, May 12, includes a new work by the company’s rehearsal director, Nicolas Blanc, called Under the Trees’ Voices. Blanc taught a masterclass for UCSB ballet students on Wednesday (see photo).Also on Thursday night’s program, Birthday Variations is Joffrey cofounder Gerald Arpino’s homage to classical ballet, complete with music by Giuseppe Verdi and plenty of tutus. For tickets and information, visit artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
PEACE AND LOVE
This weekend, the Choral Society returns to First Presbyterian Church for two masterful works of 20th-century choral music, Requiem by Maurice Duruflé and Five Mystical Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Baritone Valdis Jansons is the soloist. Word is that the First Presbyterian used the COVID quarantine period to upgrade their sound and lighting, which should make this outstanding program even more memorable. For more information, visit sbchoral.org.