Opening night of City College’s third annual Spring Dance Collective kicked off with some of the area’s finest dancers showcasing their talent for a sold out show Friday night at Center Stage Theater.
This year’s 17-piece show, choreographed by 15 different choreographers, featured dancers from different areas in the region such as City College, UCSB Dance Company, The Los Olivos Dance Gallery and Thacher School Dance Ensemble.
The show started off with a dimly blue lit empty stage with long white sheets of fabric running across it. A sound of fans began and the sheets waved as if drying on a clothes line. Then Carisa Carrol, a student choreographer, stepped out onto the stage to perform her solo for a dreamlike performance that incorporated full use of the cloud-like sheets of fabric.
The piece titled “Aria for Samothrace” was choreographed by Tracy Kofford, the Collective’s director. The piece is based on a statue at the Louvre, Kofford said, “What would it look like if the statue was in its realm.” Kofford also choreographed a heart pounding and intense piece about war and love titled “Necessary Losses.”
The night continued the same way it started, each number unique in its own way. The theater was silent throughout each and would erupt with applause once finished. One particularly unique piece, “The Invitation,” choreographed by Tinelle Matlock, featured no music but instead a poem titled “The Invitation” written by Oriah and spoken by Matlock herself. The poem is about overcoming the fear of others’ view and getting away from constantly trying to please people. Opening with a loud noise of whispers, the dancers sat in a circle, only to break away after a loud exhale. The dancers moved along with each line as it was read, bringing the words to life.
“It really touches my heart,” said Kaycee Jannino, a dancer in the piece. “Tinelle really left it up to us to figure out what it means. The whispers at the beginning represent people talking and showing signs of defeat, the exhales throughout is us fighting through those.”
Jannino not only danced in “The Invitation” but eight other dances as well, including a lead part as a monarch sent from heaven in guest choreographer Kara Stewart’s piece “Heaven’s Monarch.”
“This is my second year doing the Collective,” Jannino said. “It is an amazing event and there is so much talent this year, we had a lot of fun.”
Brooklyn Melton, the assistant artistic director, and Kifford were the only current City College faculty members to choreograph pieces in the collective. Melton’s piece, “Fractured Light,” was originally from a professional group outside of school.
“I took it up to a group of seven,” she said. “It adds more layers to it.”
Melton’s piece consisted of all City College students, some she has never taught before.
“It is nice working with new dancers, it brings new light,” Melton added. “It’s interesting to see what each dancer has brought.”
The Collective will run until Saturday, April 18. There will be two performances, one at 2 p.m. and a closing performance at 7:30 p.m.