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Modern Dance Company Pilobolus Restructures

Named for a sun-loving variety of fungus and founded as a collective at Dartmouth College in 1971, Pilobolus Dance Theatre has developed a distinctively gymnastic style of movement involving complex, multi-Â-dancer lifts that are sometimes used to create the shadows of larger single forms.


Although more than 30 years have passed since its founding as a choreographic democracy, collaborative play remains the heart of Pilobolus Dance Company’s work. Tuesday’s program reflected the wide range of the company’s repertoire, from co-artistic director Jonathan Wolken’s classic solo Pseudopodia of 1973, to fellow founder Michael Tracy’s duet Persistence of Memory from this year.

Carmen, presented by State Street Ballet.

“Wait, how did you just give her tickets?” cried an anxious woman beside us as we hurried past the long box office line and into a packed Lobero. At 13 years old, the State Street Ballet (SSB) is outgrowing the cozy confines of its theatrical home, just in time for the March 2008 reopening of the Granada. In the meantime, those of us fortunate enough to have secured tickets early are being treated to terrific dance productions in an intimate, lovely, historical theater-and those left out in the cold have reason to be jealous.

Artist Sara Wookey Walks Los Angeles

When dance artist Sara Wookey moved to Los Angeles in 2004 after 10 years in Europe, her first impression was of being stuck on fast-forward. The onetime N.Y.C.-dwelling dancer had adjusted to the mellow pace of Amsterdam. L.A., by contrast, screamed for her attention, its text-laden billboards, posters, and shop windows flying by at freeway speeds.

Movin’ Out

The opener for the 2007-08 Broadway at the Arlington series, Movin’ Out is an unusual jukebox musical that unfolds without dialogue, relying on song and dance to tell a familiar story of 1960s high school sweethearts ripped apart by the Vietnam War. The songs, in this case, are classic Billy Joel numbers delivered by a vocalist and a 10-piece band on a platform above the stage; the dances are the work of New York choreographer Twyla Tharp.

Dos Voces para un Baile

Javier Bar³n’s flamenco world is clean, rigorous, and spirited. His take on Spain’s classic art distills its heart and soul, without Technicolor distractions or unnecessary flourishes. This essential flamenco experience was on full display Saturday night at Dos Voces para un Baile, where Bar³n created a simplified performance that demonstrated the raw elegance and sheer power of flamenco at its most elemental.

Les Petits Ballets Santa Barbara

New York choreographer Carrie Diamond and her husband, composer Eric Valinsky, founded Ballet Santa Barbara (BSB) in fall 2005. Two years later, the program of their four-show run looks like something you might expect from a mature company twice as big. Live vocal and instrumental music; complex sets including a kitchen, a bar, a bedroom, and towers of scaffolding; costumes by a veteran TV, film, and stage designer; and dancers from the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Ailey, and Lines-it doesn’t exactly sound like a fledgling operation.

The Flamenco of Javier Bar³n

Eight years in, and Flamenco Arts Festival founders and organizers Alberto Pizano and Vibiana have struck the sweet spot of performing arts programming. At the helm of one of the nation’s few annual flamenco festivals and the first in California, they attract world-class artists to a discerning audience. The performers they have brought to the Lobero stage since 2000-among them Eva Yerbabuena, Cristina Hoyos, Rafael Campallo, and Israel and Pastora Galv¡n-represent the most exciting and accomplished contemporary Spanish flamenco artists.

2007 Fall Arts Preview – Dance

Right about now, in the midst of our dry season, dancing up a storm in Santa Barbara sounds like a pretty good idea. Luckily, the arrival of fall ushers in a new season of dance performances and classes, some of which promise to approach prayer in their fervor. Whether or not they are actual rain dances, it’s the season for dancing.

Lindy Legend Frankie Manning Returns to Santa Barbara

Frankie Manning, ambassador of the lindy hop, dancer extraordinaire, and living legend in swing dance history makes his annual pilgrimage to Santa Barbara this weekend. As a pioneer of swing dance in the 1930s, Manning was at the epicenter of the movement that gave refuge to many Americans during two of the country’s greatest periods of disenchantment and strife: the Depression and World War II. Decades later, he was equally instrumental in the resurgence of swing in the ’80s and ’90s.


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