Santa Barbara Dance Theater Opens This January

SANTA BARBARA DANCE THEATER'S Artistic Director, Christopher Pilafian, kicks off 2019 with DISTANCE AND DESIRE, a fresh program featuring his newest work and that of accomplished and exciting guest artists Josh Manculich and Yusha-Marie Sorzano. The program also includes a special appearance by Doug Elkins' NYC-based company, Doug Elkins choreography, etc. The event is made possible with support from the Jody and John Arnhold Guest Artist Fund.

SBDT marks its 43rd year with Distance and Desire, a mixed bill that includes three premieres and a very special guest performance. The premieres are by guest choreographers Yusha-Marie Sorzano (To All Our Ends) and Josh Manculich (The Grey Area, plus a company premiere of his award-winning Monologue), and artistic director Christopher Pilafian (Chanson). The program features music spanning the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. We are especially thrilled to announce a guest appearance of the New York City-based company, Doug Elkins choreography, etc. who will perform Mr. Elkins's O, round desire. Mr. Elkins' company is familiar to Santa Barbara dance audiences from his creative residencies with Santa Barbara Danceworks, most recently in September, 2018.

Of the title, Pilafian says, "While digital media and expanding global awareness are virtually shrinking the planet, polarization remains intense and the perceived gap between self and other seems to persist. A key question we might ask is 'Who is the "other?"' As Josh Manculich suggests in his new work, The Grey Area, a middle ground between poles awaits us where we can listen and learn to coexist. Manculich's award-winning solo, Monologue, considers a desire for communication within isolation. Yusha-Marie Sorzano, born and raised in Trinidad, has built a strong performing career in the USA. In To All Our Ends, she reflects on the temporary but traumatic separation from her work as she recovered from an injury.

Division, separation and isolation lead inexorably to desire for connection and communication. This theme drives the evening's works.

Manculich's The Grey Area, is a trio for three female dancers, with one dancer dressed in black, another in white, and with the central dancer dressed in grey. The work considers the duty of decision-making and appreciates the vital moments of reflection and pause. In the making of this work, I asked myself how different parts of my body could lead the dancers through space.

Manculich's Monologue, created in 2014, depicts a soloist communicating to the audience, not through speech, but through a series of gestures and movement sequences. In the incubation of this work, the idea that movement communicates was very important to me. The work is intricate; the presence of a single chair, the pairing of movement to a score of sped up Norwegian phonetics creates an intense and cathartic work. It has been performed at the Austin Dance Festival, Ohio Dance Festival, in addition to being toured internationally with DanceWorks Chicago.

To All Our Ends is an all-female contemporary work exploring how women balance nature and instinct with expectations of self and community. As a woman, a Caribbean immigrant, and a classically trained dancer, Yusha-Marie Sorzano sought answers to this personal question after a major injury threatened her identity as a performing artist. The result is a work that echoes the folkloric dances, the isolation of the hips, the rhythms of her native Trinidad, while at the same time drawing upon the vocabulary of classical concert dance. It is an expression of the internal battle waged to maintain control over our identity, but also a recognition that being a complete human is about finding harmony among our many selves, our many distinct voices.

Elkins' O, round desire explores the connections that bind us - both emotional and corporeal. Figures constantly orbiting each other, being drawn together and pulled apart in ethereal and intricately grounded configurations. Through experiences of solitude, passion, camaraderie, loss, and longing - what are the unbreakable bonds that remain?

Pilafian's Chanson, shifts tones as it moves through a cycle of states and textures informed by a song Dis, quand reviendras-tu, written and originally performed by the celebrated French singer/songwriter, Barbara (Monique Andrée Serf, 1930-1997). Since is debut in the 1960s, many musicians have offered interpretations, which taken together remind us of the broad range of artistic possibility. The melodic phrasing, quality of longing and dash of insouciance underly the creation of this work, with a cast of 14 dancers, including 10 SBDT apprentices.

About SBDT's Guest Company for January 2019:

Doug Elkins choreography, etc. was established in 2009 as a way to brand independent dance, theater, and teaching projects for Doug Elkins. The umbrella has allowed for the creation of award-winning works including Fräulein Maria, a loving deconstruction of The Sound of Music; Mo(or)town/Redux (commissioned by DANCEworks in 2011), a movement conversation with Shakespeare's Othello and Jose Limon's seminal The Moor's Pavane set to a Motown-inspired score; and Hapless Bizarre, a 2013 National Dance Project selection. The original Doug Elkins Dance Company debuted at Dance Theater Workshop's 11 O'Clock News series in 1988, and disbanded after 15 years of national and international touring.

This season's special guest appearance by elkins choreography, etc. is made possible by support from the Jody and John Arnhold Guest Artist Fund.


January 11, 12, 18, 19 / 8PM

January 20 / 2PM

UCSB's Hatlen Theater

Admission: $12-$27

Group discount rates available

for parties of 10 or more

(some restrictions apply)

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