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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC Dance Co. owns the stage in stunning festival performance

The Channels Art Pages | STAFF REVIEW
Members of the Jess Harper & Dancers perform the piece “…my name is…” at the third annual Collective Collaborative festival on Friday, Nov. 9, at the New Vic Theatre in Santa Barbara, Calif. The event features professional and pre-professional dancers from City College and other California dance companies.

I recently had the wonderful pleasure of attending SBCC Dance Company’s third annual Collective Collaborative festival Friday night.

The event, which ran through Nov. 9 & 10, is a dance showcase that features professional and pre-professional dancers from the SBCC Dance Company and other California dance companies.

Until now, I had never seen City College’s dancers in action and I had no idea what to expect. I walked into a nearly full New Vic Theatre, with its orange velvet curtains striking against the otherwise warm if not industrial design.

After a brief introduction by Tracy Kofford, the Artistic Director of SBCC Dance Company and the director of dance at City College, the lights dimmed, the curtain rose, and the show began.

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Lured in by a contemporary drum beat, the words “It’s okay” played on a loop while dancers dressed in all black began to move in perfect unison.

It felt like a glimpse into another realm, whooshing sounds echoing those of a mother’s womb. It was ethereal and otherworldly and had me questioning life and death.

It was supremely cathartic in the wake of all the atrocious tragedies befalling the communities around us.

I found the dance to be a life raft in a sea of chaos I desperately wanted to cling to and never let go of. “It’s okay” I started to whisper to myself.  It simply reached beyond and left me sitting on the edge of my seat eagerly anticipating the next dancers.

After a quick bow, the next group took the stage in flowy, burgundy dresses as they pranced their way around. In total, there were thirteen performances, separated by a ten minute intermission.

Though all were enjoyable, some of my personal favorites included a group of women dressed in white gowns swaying to melancholic strings, with one lifting the other’s skirt to reveal a hidden dancer within.

Another consisted of orange clad dancers having the time of their lives while they clapped and rocked their hips to a rock rendition of “Le Nozze di Figaro,” and yet another carried me through an intense tribal beat in a ritualistic dance that left me wondering if the dancers were being hunted or doing the hunting themselves. There was even a comedic display which was definitely a fan favorite.

By the end of the final performance, I had asked myself so many existential questions about love, life and happiness that I felt I deserved tenure as a City College philosophy professor. Either way, it was the most fun I’ve had in a while and I have to admit, I was thoroughly impressed and I can’t wait to see what else those amazing dancers have in store!

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