Santa Barbara Dance Theater ... and Friends

UCSB’s professional dance company continues its 40th anniversary season with works by guest choreographers Joshua Beamish and Emily Schoen

Discussions of drought and water — particularly the seemingly unceasing lack thereof — have crossed borders and disciplines, from the sciences to the social sciences and humanities. And now dance has joined the conversation.

Continuing the celebration of its 40th anniversary season, Santa Barbara Dance Theater (SBDT), UC Santa Barbara’s professional dance company, hosts international choreographer Joshua Beamish at the Lobero Theatre in a premiere performance of a work he created specifically for SBDT. Based on his observations of the impact of drought in the world, Beamish brings his original choreographic voice and unique perspective to this important topic.

The dance concert, “Santa Barbara Dance Theater … and Friends,” is set for Wednesday and Thursday, May 4 and 5. Both performances begin at 7:30 p.m.

Fresh from a project with the Royal Ballet in London, where he resides, Beamish also directs Vancouver, British Columbia-based MOVE: the company. He received major attention recently for his high-profile collaboration with New York City Ballet principal dancer Wendy Whelan in her multifaceted project, “Restless Creature.”

SBDT’s dancers will also perform “A Jointed Affair” by Emily Schoen, a New York City-based dancer and choreographer and a member of Keigwin + Company. Keigwin and Schoen were in residence with DANCEworks Santa Barbara in 2010 when Keigwin created a community-inclusive blowout version of Ravel’s “Bolero” for the Lobero stage. “A Jointed Affair” is a highly physical exploration of human interaction, with a score by the chamber music ensemble Project Trio. This work was created last year on Schoen’s own Schoen Movement Company.

The program also will include SBDT artistic director Christopher Pilafian’s hit of the company’s winter season, “Strange Attractor,” with an original score by Los Angeles-based film composer Ryan Beveridge.  And as a special treat for dance lovers, Beamish will perform a recently choreographed solo to a score by J.S. Bach.

As a laboratory for choreography and performance in UCSB’s Department of Theater and Dance, SBDT is a professional dance company in a world-class research institution. This unique collaboration fosters creative and educational connections among students, company members, guest artists, colleagues and the field of dance.

Pilafian, a professor of dance who came to UCSB in 1990, has produced four seasons as SBDT’s artistic director. Among them are “A Leap of Faith” in 2013, “Time in Motion” in 2014, last year’s “Common Ground” and the launch of “SBDT’s 40th Anniversary Season” in January 2016. The current production includes three works not seen in January.

Tickets for “Santa Barbara Dance Theater … and Friends” range from $19 for UCSB students to $54, which includes a post-performance reception on May 5. More information is available at Questions can be directed to the Lobero Box Office at (805) 963-0761.

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