The season finale of the UCSB Dance Company’s spring tour “Trajectory” will be showing tonight at the Center Stage for the Paseo Nuevo Center in downtown Santa Barbara.
The company, a group of 13 senior dance majors, will finish their tour that first began in January and took the group across the world, stopping in California, New York, Italy and finishing back in Santa Barbara. In addition to their “Trajectory” performances, the dance troupe also participated in educational outreach programs at over 14 elementary schools throughout Santa Barbara and Carpinteria over the span of a year. The show begins at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $20 for general admission and $15 for students.
The show features the progression of American modern dance from the mid-twentieth century to the present. The compilation of choreography includes works by José Limón, a Mexican-American leader in the field and creator of the influential Limón technique as well as work by Donald McKayle addressing the African-American experience through dance and pieces by the American dance master choreographer from New York, Peter Pucci.
UCSB Dance Company performer and fourth-year dance major Yvette Johnson said the educational outreach program provided the company with a way to give back to the community, as instructional lectures about dance are incorporated into the actual performances.
“We performed a couple pieces from our repertoire from our tour in Italy, along with a couple of kid-friendly pieces,” Johnson said. “Peter Pucci from New York choreographed a piece for us with the idea in mind that we were going to be performing for kids, and Jerry Pearson created a piece designed to help educate kids about dance.”
According to UCSB Dance Company Director Delila Moseley, the choreography provides the audience with a taste of the shifting perspectives in the past 50 years of American modern dance “from a historical perspective to a modern perspective.”
In addition to mirroring the evolution of American modern dance in the last half of the century, the title of the show, “Trajectory,” also reflects the growth of the 13 dancers over the course of the academic year. Delila Moseley handpicked the group of 11 young women and two young men in fall, after three years of rigorous and highly competitive dancing in the department.
As graduation quickly approaches, the young dancers find themselves on the edge of their future professional careers in performance dance, according to Moseley.
“All of the dancers have indicated that they are planning to pursue careers in professional dancing,” Moseley said. “This does not happen every year, but this year, all of the members of the company will be moving on into professional careers.”
The show also includes work by UCSB faculty members, such as Jerry Pearson’s 1999 piece “Strange Boat” to more recent works by Valerie Huston and Nancy Colahan, such as “Black Earth” and “Deep Currents,” in addition to Christopher Pilafian’s “The Space Between Us,” which finished this year.
According to Moseley, “Trajectory” reflects the evolution of the UCSB Department of Theater and Dance, and it showcases the upcoming direction of the department.
“We had faculty members, who are working in the field, create pieces for the show, as well as guest choreographers like Alice Congogina from the José Limón Dance Company,” said Moseley. “The tie to professional companies helps to expand our profile and vision beyond the dance department at UCSB.”
Photo courtesy of UCSB Dance Company
A version of this article appeared on page 4 of May 30th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.