Category Archives: Dance

Galaxy of Dance: HHII Dance Fest promises three days of new and recent work

"Sand Into Glass" is performed by Nebula Dance Lab. Daniel Wade photo
“Sand Into Glass” is performed by Nebula Dance Lab.
Daniel Wade photo

It’s spring, the season of dance, and the fields of March are blooming with the human form in beautiful motion. We’ve had aerial dance at the Lobero, shows from Santa Barbara Dance Arts, visits from Hart Pulse and the world famous Joffrey Ballet. It’s time to finish the month with the first installment of our own homegrown dance festival, HHII.

Devyn Duex is the woman behind this three-day festival taking over the Center Stage Theater this whole weekend, and the name HHII is a sly nod to Ms. Duex’s Nebula Dance Lab company: HHII is a star-forming region in the galaxy. “And star-forming – we thought that was perfect.”

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Galaxy of dance: HHII Dance Fest promises three days of new and recent work

"Sand Into Glass" is performed by Nebula Dance Lab.
“Sand Into Glass” is performed by Nebula Dance Lab.

It’s spring, the season of dance, and the fields of March are blooming with the human form in beautiful motion. We’ve had aerial dance at the Lobero, shows from Santa Barbara Dance Arts, visits from Hart Pulse and the world famous Joffrey Ballet. It’s time to finish the month with the first installment of our own homegrown dance festival, HHII.

Devyn Duex is the woman behind this three-day festival taking over the Center Stage Theater this whole weekend, and the name HHII is a sly nod to Ms. Duex’s Nebula Dance Lab company: HHII is a star-forming region in the galaxy. “And star-forming – we thought that was perfect.”

Continue reading Galaxy of dance: HHII Dance Fest promises three days of new and recent work

Amanda Hart’s Hart Pulse Dance Company presents an afternoon of exciting contemporary dance

The dancers performing in "Spoons" are, from left, Phil Turay, Morgan Ashley, Ryan Ruiz and Lindsay Marquino. victorvicphoto.com
The dancers performing in “Spoons” are, from left, Phil Turay, Morgan Ashley, Ryan Ruiz and Lindsay Marquino.
victorvicphoto.com

Amanda Hart, director and choreographer of Hart Pulse Dance Company, comes from the small San Joaquin Valley town of Visalia. And she did not want to be a dancer. At least, not at first.

“The reason I went into dance was because I sucked at basketball,” she says, having never grown beyond 5’5″. Discouraged, her mom suggested dance at age 9. “I cried my whole first class,” she admits.

Continue reading Amanda Hart’s Hart Pulse Dance Company presents an afternoon of exciting contemporary dance

Up in the air: ‘Belline’ is the culminating work for the 2nd annual Floor to Air Festival

 Santa Barbara Contemporary Floor to Air Festival's "Belline" can be seen tonight only at the Lobero Theatre. Courtesy photo

Santa Barbara Contemporary Floor to Air Festival’s “Belline” can be seen tonight only at the Lobero Theatre.
Courtesy photo

How does one spot an aerialist dancer in the wild? They don’t have the feet of a ballerina, as they don’t spend a lot of time on the ground.

“You can tell by her back,” says Chicagoan now Santa Barbaran Ninette Paloma. “If she has a nice, beautiful back and broad shoulders, that is an aerialist. A slight little gait in her walk, because she always has shoulders in to protect them. And incredible forearms. Gorgeous, yes, gorgeous forearms.”

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Can’t stop moving: Momentum ignites competitive dance in Santa Barbara

Betsy Woyach moved to Santa Barbara a year ago with years of dance experience under her belt, ready to start a family and be closer to her mother and aunt. She had been teaching on and off in town, along with performing in BASSH, and knew how much our town loved dance. And she spotted the one thing we didn’t have.

“There was no competitive dance,” she says. “I grew up in a completely competitive dance arena where every studio went to competitions.”

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Dance scene buzz: Sunday’s HIVE produces sweet dance honey

"Please, Please" with Curtis J. (vocalist), Jeremiah Tatum, Melvin Clark and Kenya Williams H. Wang photo
“Please, Please” with Curtis J. (vocalist), Jeremiah Tatum, Melvin Clark and Kenya Williams
H. Wang photo

Despite the amount of dance that passes through Santa Barbara, and the amount of schools and instructors in our town, there still is a dearth of opportunities for modern choreographers to have their works performed. Companies come and go, and find that locations and funding are a problem. According to Stephen Kelly, part of the collective called Hive, spearheaded by Maria Rendina Frantz of Motion Theatre Dance Company, the cost of rehearsal space in Santa Barbara is even higher now than New York City. The answer to that dilemma: form a collective, and focus on delivering a wide-ranging evening of dance, while turning a profit. They believe it can be done, and if the advance tickets to this Sunday’s show “Buzz” are any indication, they may be right. And dance fans will benefit.

“We’re hoping this will provide a model that is not just sustainable here, but elsewhere in the country,” Mr. Kelly says. He and his wife, choreographer Misa Kelly, have broadened the scope of their own organization ArtBark to encompass the East Coast and Eastern Europe, and Hive is another offshoot of their collective ideal.

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The passion and the fire: The 14th Flamenco Arts Festival promises performance, talks and workshops

Flamenco is part of everybody in Spain," says organizer Vibiana Pizano. Paco Villalta photo
Flamenco is part of everybody in Spain,” says organizer Vibiana Pizano.
Paco Villalta photo

If your only experience of flamenco is watching it every Fiesta on the steps of either the Courthouse or the Mission, well, the Flamenco Arts Festival has some news: that’s only the beginning. For three days the Festival brings in some of the most daring artists in the world of flamenco not just to perform, but to hold master classes in the art form, from dancing to guitar playing. It’s only three days, but the Festival hopes that for some it will stoke the flames of flamenco passion.

“This is a very high level professional production,” says owner and organizer Vibiana Pizano. “These are the people who have made flamenco what it is. These are the people who are the masters, who the kids in town learning flamenco aspire to be. We’re really fortunate that we can bring them here and inspire the kids who are learning flamenco now.”

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Experimental visions: MCA premieres On Edge Festival, four days of performance art

"Spinning Four," Surabhi Saraf Varun Sharma photo
“Spinning Four,” Surabhi Saraf
Varun Sharma photo

As a frequent attendee at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s “Forum Lounge” over the years, it would be fair to say the events — every First Thursday at 7 p.m. — were unpredictable and just as often brilliant as they were half-baked. Sometimes there were short bursts of stunning performance, clocking in at a friendly 20 minutes; sometimes audiences found they had signed up for two hours. It was an experiment that had run its course in a way, but it was also pointing to something bigger, more consistent, and better defined. The On Edge Festival opens this Thursday, and promises the best of the performance art scene.

In its four days, the Festival, curated by Forum Lounge’s Heather Jeno Silva, will put on productions at MCA, as well as at Center Stage Theater, Municipal Winemakers, the Courthouse Sunken Gardens, and a gallery/event space on Canon Perdido.

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Flamenco Fire: Savannah Fuentes bring La Luna Nueva to Center Stage

Flamenco dancer Savannah Fuentes
Flamenco dancer Savannah Fuentes

This is a tale of two cities, Seattle and Vancouver. In the latter there is a bustling flamenco community, with funding, three schools, and small clubs having shows every week.

The former … not so much. There are no clubs. The main international stars don’t get booked. And this is the city where Savannah Fuentes has hung her shingle to bring flamenco — the dancing, the guitar, the singing — to the populace. After all, she was born in Seattle to a Puerto Rican dad and an Irish mom, and she’s gonna turn the culture around, she swears.

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This American Dance – NPR’S IRA GLASS RETURNS TO SANTA BARBARA — WITH TWO DANCERS IN TOW

 Ira Glass, the host of the popular NPR show "This American Life," returns to Santa Barbara accompanied by pair of dancers on stage as he tells his stories Evan Agostini photo

Ira Glass, the host of the popular NPR show “This American Life,” returns to Santa Barbara accompanied by pair of dancers on stage as he tells his stories
Evan Agostini photo

Fans of “This American Life” know, and some of us love, host Ira Glass’ voice, soft, quick, worldly and wordy, but it’s only recently that audiences have come to know what he looks like. After thirty-some years in radio, to see the voice made flesh was strange, at first. When his popular NPR/PRI radio hour went on tour as a live, HD simulcast show a few years back, or for those who have seen him in rare, live appearances, it was interesting, but not astounding.

The bespectacled man, curly hair like his cousin, composer Philip Glass, did what he usually does: sit at a desk and cue up story after story, and provide the framing structure to lead us through it. But his spirit of adventure and of rising to a challenge — the same one, he says, that led him to start broadcasting in the first place — has found him heading a very odd evening this coming Saturday: Ira Glass will appear with two dancers who will accompany his evening of stories. It’s a “This American Life” that moves, called “One Radio Host, Two Dancers.”

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