UCSB Dance Company ends their season with bravura show
UCSB DANCE COMPANY
When: 8 p.m. tonight
Where: Center Stage Theater, Paseo Nuevo
Information: centerstagetheater.org or (805) 963-0408
For those who caught State Street Ballet’s show at the Lobero in April, they will remember one highly energized piece by the UCSB Dance Company, “Swept In,” choreographed by Ephrat Asherie. As seniors look to donning cap and gown, there is one more chance to see that piece, along with other new works created just for the student company. Tonight at Center Stage Theater, the final show in a year’s worth of performances, including a world tour, will show what kind of powerhouse company is cultivated on campus.
“It’s important to show everybody what we do,” says director Delila Mosely. “Some people don’t want to drive to UCSB, or park, or they say it’s too late in the evening. So that’s why we bring it downtown.”
For five years UCSB Dance has been doing so and it’s certainly helped raised the company profile. But it’s also a way, she says, to show how far the company has come after starting work in March and then going on tour.
Taking the company to Europe is another Moseley idea–from 25 years ago–and that has been even more beneficial. At first they toured California, then one quarter they went to New York, and from there it was only a plane ride to Europe. She has 13 invitations already for next year from the various friends the company has made along the way.
In Europe, students also get a chance to be exposed to other ways of education–they certainly like the K-thru-12-and-college free tuition in countries like Finland and Norway. But they also encounter an academic world more tailored to creating teachers rather than dancers. And the Americans are seen as “very physical, technical, and based in modern dance,” Mosely says. “Europeans put more emphasis on concepts and theatricality–of course not everybody. But when we go we make a splash dance-wise.”
Apart from “Swept In”, there will be a revisit of Doug Elkins’ “Kintsugi Variations,” featuring that choreographer’s intelligence and pop culture-saturated wit. And faculty member Nancy Colahan restages her “Deep Currents,” set to a score by William Pasley that was written alongside Colahan’s creation of the work.
Brandon Whited, department instructor and a former member of the Shen Wei Dance Company, brings a duet for two men created for the company. “Simple Man” is an abstract work that shows off the pure physicality of its two dancers. “A lot of lifting, partnering, shifting or weight,” Mosely says. “It’s also about trust, because there is a lot of physicality, but also some tenderness, of being aware of and helping each other.”
Another abstract work, “Human Elements” comes from UCSB graduate Meredith Cabaniss. It’s a delicate piece about connectivity and awareness with quite a lot of ground work.
And finally, Professor Emerita Alice Condodina has looked to the past and has restaged a work by Jose Limon, “The Unsung.” This is a legacy piece, a chance for students to learn a work from several decades ago. Danced completely in silence apart from the sounds of the dancers themselves, it’s a homage to Native Americans. The original has eight solos, but for this show that has been reduced down to three and the larger group section called “The Pantheon.”
After this show, the dancers will leave UCSB with a mixture of triumph and sadness, some moving on to professional companies to continues, others taking time off. And then, come the new term, it will all start anew.