UCSB Fall Dance Concert takes place December 1-3. | Credit: Stephen Sherrill

If you find yourself privy to contemplating “the stuff that makes us emotional humans as we inhabit moments of stasis and transition,” as UCSB’s faculty dance choreographer Christina McCarthy states, journey to the UCSB’s Hatlen Theater December 1-3. In doing so, enjoy the UCSB Department of Theater and Dance’s latest dance concert, Within Existence | Existence Within — an exploration of a myriad of themes underneath the humanist umbrella. 

Not only does Within Existence | Existence Within include a generous array of movement pieces throughout the performance, but it also includes choreography from faculty members McCarthy and Christina Sanchez, as well as from five UCSB senior dancers. 

As the concert director, McCarthy describes the process of mentorship that took place when aiding the senior dancer’s choreographing processes as, “I offer lots of ideas as a smorgasbord with the hope that something I say will spark a new and interesting way for them to solve the puzzle of making a dance…. Often, college choreographers find interest in analysis of how they fit into the world and the quest for self realization…. This comes out in their art and each time it does, it is so unique to the person creating the dance.”

It is clear that McCarthy’s “smorgasbord” sparked something, displayed throughout the completed senior dancer’s movements, ranging from Leia Zorba’s exploration of femininity throughout her piece, Jaliana Apawan-Semien’s investigations of physicalizing the seven sins and virtues, Bailey Dodgion’s mixture of modern dance with a contemporary ballet movement palette, Jazz Hayes’s minimalist use of space, and Dalya Modlin’s depiction of human loneliness.

As McCarthy muses, “Each of the students has their own very specific voice,” ultimately creating what is sure to be a rich and immersive viewing experience.

Further, Within Existence | Existence Within exhibits the art that can be created by mutual inspiration throughout the UCSB dance program, as Sanchez describes: “I have been working with seven wonderful dancers that are in my current Repertory class. I began the process by asking the dancers a few questions to prompt inspiration. What was so inspiring to me was how these stories emerged and evolved into little ‘Vignettes,’ which is the title of my piece.”

The show promises to leave the audience refreshed and inspired in their worldly view. Tickets to see Within Existence | Existence Within can be found here.

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