SBCC’s dance company raising money to fund their upcoming tour


James Von Essen

Camara Byrd moves through her dance routine at Santa Barbara City College. Byrd spends hours a day working on her routine so she is ready for competition.

Hayley Herrera, Channels Staff

The SBCC Dance Company will be hosting a fundraiser, including a performance by the dancers, at the Hamsa Studio in Ojai, CA, on Friday, March 16th at 7pm. The funds raised will go towards the dance company’s upcoming tour.

Up until now, Tracy Kofford creator and instructor of the company has been covering all performance and touring expenses. “I gladly do it,” said Kofford, “but everything is out of my pocket. We are in desperate need of funds if we are to continue touring and hopefully go to Mexico this semester for our first international tour.” The company also offers donation opportunity on their gofundme page.

The tour will include ten festivals the 20 dancers will be performing in this semester. They have shows lined up in cities all over Southern California including The Collective on April 13th and 14th at the Garvin Theatre on West Campus.

Kofford submitted works to 15 festivals and the dancers got accepted into ten. The company placed second in their first festival at the McCallum Choreography Festival in Palm Desert, a festival which only accepted 14 groups out of the 125 that submitted works. They also performed in the prestigious American College Dance Association showcase last January along with some of the top universities in the area.

Tracy Kofford demonstrates techniques in posing with Camara Byrd in the Physical Education Building Room 113, at Santa Barbara City College on Friday, Feb. 23. Kofford routinely shows the dancers in his group little improvements they can make to their form to prepare them for competition.
James Von Essen
Tracy Kofford demonstrates techniques in posing with Camara Byrd at Santa Barbara City College.  Kofford routinely shows the dancers in his group little improvements they can make to their form to prepare them for competition.

Kofford has been teaching at City College since Fall 2011 but had goals other than only teaching. “I have always dreamed of having a student company since I was an undergrad and remember how amazing and dedicated our director was” he said.

He created the SBCC Dance Company in 2015, beginning with 16 original dancers. The company holds auditions twice every year and has grown since its establishment.

“This is the only dance opportunity on campus, and for a lot of us, this is our life. With no awareness for what we need, some students won’t have the chance to pursue their education the way they want to. I think we deserve the same funding opportunities as sports and other organizations on campus,” said dancer Valeria Garnica.   

Kofford described the dancers in his company as dedicated artists as they spend weeks to months rehearsing choreography before they take it to the stage.

“We rehearse pretty much every day of the week except for Sunday. Four hours for regular rehearsals, seven hours for rehearsals the week of the gala,” said dancer Aren Vaughn.

“I had a vision and goal for this company, and I think when you really put your heart and soul into your work, you will always succeed, but it really is the dedication of the students and the hard work they do that carries us forward to victory. It’s what they bring to the stage that makes the difference. I am just so proud of them” said Kofford.