Winter Arts

An interdepartmental collaboration celebrating three pioneers of postmodern dance anchors UCSB’s winter arts season

In August 1960, choreographer Anna Halprin taught an experimental workshop attended by Simone Forti and Yvonne Rainer. Within two years of that gathering, Forti’s conceptually forceful dance constructions had premiered in Yoko Ono’s loft and Rainer had cofounded the groundbreaking Judson Dance Theater.

Halprin, Forti and Rainer each would go on to create a radicalized vision for dance, music and the visual arts that continues to influence artists around the world.

Amid a winter packed with exciting arts events, UC Santa Barbara celebrates the trio’s collective legacy with “Radical Bodies: Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, and Yvonne Rainer in California and New York 1955-1972.” This multimedia, multi-event experience, opens Saturday, Jan. 14, in the campus’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum. It will feature photographs, videos and related works commemorating dance culture in the 1960s, as well as collaborative dance performances and film screenings.

Among the highlights: a presentation of  “Privilege,” a subversive documentary about menopause and sexual identity directed by Rainer. The film will screen at 7 p.m. Jan. 25 in UCSB’s Pollock Theater. Rainer will join Constance Penley, a UCSB professor of film and media studies, for a post-screening discussion.

Two days later, Halprin, 97, Forti, 84, and Rainer, 83, will reunite for the first time in over 50 years as participants in a “Radical Bodies” dance conference Friday, Jan. 27, in the McCune Conference Room, 6020 Humanities and Social Sciences Building. In addition, Yvonne Rainer and Company will perform with the UCSB Student Dance Company Jan. 27 and 28 in Hatlen Theater.

Postmodern Dance Pioneers

An exhibition of approximately 200 photographs, videos and original scores and drawings will open Jan. 14 at UCSB’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum. An opening reception featuring performances by UCSB dance students will take place at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 27.

The exhibition is curated by Ninotchka D. Bennahum, a professor in UCSB’s Department of Theater and Dancw; Wendy Perron, former editor-in-chief of Dance Magazine and an adjunct professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts; and Bruce Robertson, a professor in UCSB’s History of Art and Architecture Department and director of the Art Design & Architecture Museum. It also will highlight work by artists Imogen Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg, George Brecht and others inspired by the postmodern dance movement.

The exhibition is open to the public and admission is free. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., with additional evening hours 5-8 p.m. Thursdays.

More information about the museum is available at

Choirs of Voices

For the first time in its 62-year history, the National Opera Association (NOA) will hold its annual convention in Santa Barbara, and students from UCSB’s Opera Theatre program will give a special performance featuring excerpts from three contemporary operas chosen as finalists for the NOA’s Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition. Among them are “After Life” by Tom Cipullo and David Mason, “Letters from Quebec to Providence in the Rain” by Jeremy Gill and “The Scarecrow” by Joseph Turrin and Bernard Stambler.

A panel of judges will select the winning opera, which will be performed in its entirety at the 2018 NOA convention.

The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6 in Hahn Hall at the Music Academy of the West. It is open to the public and general admission is $10.

On March 10, the UCSB Chamber Choir and the UCSB Women’s Chorus, under the direction of Grey Brothers and Tyler Reece, respectively, will perform a program of sacred and secular music at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1500 State St. in Santa Barbara. Highlighted will be works by German composers of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Mendelssohn, Brahms, Schubert, Wolf, Hindemith and Distler.

Finally, the UCSB Music of India Ensemble will present sitar and tabla music performed by first-year and advanced students March 16 in Karl Geiringer Hall.

More information about musical performances is available at

New Visions

The only resident professional dance company in the University of California system, Santa Barbara Dance Theater kicks off its fifth decade of performances with new works by guest choreographer Rebecca Lemme, UCSB assistant dance professor Brandon Whited, and Christopher Pilafian, a professor of dance at UCSB and the company’s artistic director. The program also will include an iconic work by mid-century dance maven Jane Dudley, restaged by Nancy Colahan. The concert opens Jan. 13 in Hatlen Theater and continues though Jan. 22.

Exploring issues of loss, forbidden love and the pain of memory and unfulfilled hopes and dreams, the UCSB Department of Theater and Dance will present “Lydia,” a poetic and highly imaginative play by Octavio Solis. Set in 1970s El Paso during the Vietnam War, the story focuses on the mysterious outsider whose arrival brings to light a host of family issues.

The theater and dance department’s dramatic offerings also will include Anne Washburn’s imaginative dark comedy, “Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play,” March 4-12 in UCSB’s Studio Theater. A paean to both live theater and the resilience of Bart Simpson through the ages, “Mr. Burns” is a fascinating exploration of how the pop culture of one era might evolve into the mythology of another.

More information about theater and dance events is available at

The Master of Suspense

UCSB’s Pollock Theater will screen a series of Alfred Hitchcock films this winter, each with its own special guest.

First up in the “Expanded Hitchcock” series is “Blackmail,” showing Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. This recently restored early British film was converted from silent to talkie during production, and was released simultaneously in silent and sound versions. The silent version will screen at Pollock Theater with live accompaniment by pianist Michael Mortilla.

The series will continue at Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. with “Vertigo,” starring James Stewart as a police detective whose career is derailed by a traumatic incident in the line of duty. In a post-screening discussion moderated by film and media studies professor Charles Wolfe, film preservationist James Katz will provide insight into the film’s restoration. The event will conclude with a reception in the Michael Douglas Lobby. 

“Rebecca,” Hitchcock’s first American film and an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel about a brooding aristocratic widower and his second wife, will show on Feb. 23. Following the screening, Tania Modleski, a professor at the University of Southern California and author of the groundbreaking book “The Women Who Knew Too Much: Hitchcock and Feminist Film Theory,” will discuss the history and continuing legacy of the film with Professor Patrice Petro, director of UCSB’s Carsey-Wolf Center.

All screenings are free and the public is invited. Seating is limited, however, and reservations are recommended. More information can be found at

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