SBCC Dance takes center stage in first post-pandemic performance

The City College Dance Company moves in unison in rehearsal for their “Seekers” routine on Oct. 29 in the PE building at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. Many of the dancers have been overjoyed to rehearse back in the studio again following the past year’s quarantine.

Melanie Janicke, Staff Writer

City College’s Dance Company has had to keep its feet still for over a year and a half, but now the troupe is back on stage with “Collective Collaborative 2021” on Nov. 5 and 6.

The concert isn’t limited to one specific type of dance, it features fragments of ballet, jazz, modern and contemporary styles.

“It really is a show that has something for everyone,” Director of Dance Tracy R. Kofford said. “That’s the goal, to expose people to all types of different genres of dance.”

Despite being delayed by COVID-19, the performance was originally composed for Spring 2020 and Kofford has had the choreography planned for his dancers since then.

“We were done with it and then everything got shut down,” dancer Darya Hessami said. “So now he’s bringing it back!”

Few dancers remain from the original 2020 lineup, but Kofford managed to bring the choreography back to life with his new mostly freshman student cast.

The Dance Company started practicing in person at the beginning of this semester. Despite the pandemic, the dancers were able to come together to present Kofford’s vision.

“Dance is an art form that has to be in person, you have to have space to move, and work and see,” Kofford said.

“Dance doesn’t translate well via Zoom or online,” he said. “I also think the students really needed to come back and be around each other, not just to learn but to grow.”

The result of their growth is shown in the collection of performances.

However, each is not related in terms of content and theme.

“They all have a different inherent meaning and different purpose,” dancer and student choreographer Fenna Roukema said.

One of the Dance Company’s numbers, “Seekers,” is performed to Ezio Bosso’s “Thunders and Lightnings.”

It portrays “seeking something higher, something bigger than yourself,” said Roukema. “That concept drives the piece.”

City College students will be accompanied by many different companies — LA Dance Moves, FUSE Dance Company, AkomiDance, Jess Harper & Dancers, UCSB Dance Company, State Street Professional Track, Santa Barbara Festival Ballet, Sespe Dance Co. and Santa Barbara Dance Arts will be represented in the crew of dancers.

“I think that’s his goal,” Hessami said, “to bring more local artists and companies together and to put them on display to show them.”

Kofford is not only excited to be back in person but is certain his classes will put on a wonderful show.

“These students have worked so hard, and I think it’s important for our school to see the work we do here at SBCC. We are the only award-winning, pre-professional touring dance company in all the community colleges,” he said.

“I think our faculty and students would be surprised at the high caliber of artistry we have here … and should be proud of the work we do with our Dance Company.”

The “Collective Collaborative 2021” shows will be presented Friday, Nov. 5 and Saturday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. at the New Vic Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara.

Tickets are available online and will be available for walk-up attendees.