On October 8, UCSB Arts & Lectures held a lovely Producers Circle reception and dinner in the Arlington Courtyard prior to the entertaining Joyce Theater’s production SWING OUT at The Granada Theatre. It was the first gathering for this group of major donors, who help make possible the lectures, performances, community outreach, and education that Arts & Lectures provides to the community.
About 45 guests enjoyed mingling and celebrating the new season. After a dinner catered by Via Maestra 42, Miller McCune Executive Director Celesta Billeci welcomed and thanked guests, including a special shout out to her major dance sponsors, whom she dubbed her Dance Posse: Margo Cohen-Feinberg and Bob Feinberg, Audrey and Timothy O. Fisher, Ellen and Peter O. Johnson, Barbara Stupay, and Sheila Wald.
Then Caleb Teicher, the production’s acclaimed choreographer, addressed the gathering and answered questions. Teicher shared how he often does not like dance, “I have become very prickly in my old age.” So he set out to make dance shows that would feel as good as dancing feels — so the audience’s experience is as meaningful as that of the dancers. SWING OUT, he related, is the closest he has gotten to success.
He expressed gratitude to the guests for allowing the show, which highlights the present day practices of the Lindy Hop, to come to Santa Barbara, its thirteenth city. With pride, he shared how the most famous swing dancers in America are all in the show.
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With 12 dancers and Eyal Vilner’s 10-piece Big Band, SWING OUT captivated the audience. Post-intermission, many guests enthusiastically enjoyed the Jam Session, where they were invited onstage with the performers. Audience members of all ages — a couple of hundred in all — took turns dancing onstage with the Big Band, then they formed a circle around the professionals for a final, up-close show.
In addition to the Granada performance, the dancers did five community outreach activities while in town. They conducted two workshops for Santa Barbara High School students; taught at S.B. Friday Night Swing Dance at the Carrillo Recreation Center — a session which drew 140 community members; Teicher did a master class with UCSB Dance Department students; and company dancers did a performance on the history of the Lindy Hop for a UCSB dance history class.
More than half of all visiting artists and lecturers engage in some form of outreach or educational activity. Recently, the Ukrainian group DakhaBrakha held an in-depth discussion with a UCSB music class. This week, the Soweto Gospel Choir will perform for about 1,200 K-7 students at The Granada Theatre.
Arts & Lectures relies heavily on community support to sustain its lectures, performances, and community outreach and education. The higher donor levels come with lots of perks, like this reception and dinner.
For more info, go to artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
For coverage of other events, go to independent.com/society.