Stephen Petronio is the creative force behind some of the most innovative choreography in contemporary dance, and his dance company has toured in 25 different countries. On Jan. 24, the Stephen Petronio Company brought their unique combination of modern dance, interpretive dance and ballet to UCSB’s Campbell Hall. The company consists of eight performers who dance in costumes designed by some of fashion’s most distinguished, up-and-coming designers like Rachel Roy, Manolo Ready Couture and Tara Subkoff.
The company’s unique combination of choreography and costuming was really highlighted during the most memorable of the three compositions they performed, titled “Bud Suite.” This piece, set to a compilation of Rufus Wainwright’s offbeat, poetic lyrics and crystal-clear singing voice, was powerful. Imagine this: the curtains draw back, presenting two male dancers each wearing half of a black suit jacket and red spandex short-shorts, poised in the center of the stage. Using each other as props to create what can only be described as art in motion, the dancers push and pull one another in synchronized movements. The women, dressed in backless men’s dress shirts, skintight shorts and half a tutu, appear androgynous from the front and feminine from behind. Together, this unique blend of costuming and choreography creates a scene in which the individual men and women seem to be parts of a larger, cohesive machine.
“Bud Suite” set the tone for the remainder of evening’s performance, with its strong homoerotic undertones and its emphasis on Wainwright’s music. The rest of the evening went by quickly, as the company’s extraordinary talent, brilliant scoring and unique costumes were nothing short of enrapturing. Ultimately, the Stephen Petronio Company was superlative eye candy, and boy was it delicious.