Determined to Rebound

UCSB Dance Company resumes in person performances after 2 years; artistic director Delila Moseley brings diverse slate of choreographers — and 30 years of expertise

Over her multi-decade dance career, Delila Moseley has performed professionally in Los Angeles, New York and nationwide, working with the Joyce Trisler Danscompany, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Ensemble and others. She has appeared on TV, toured in Europe, worked with prominent choreographers and choreographed dozens of concerts for myriad organizations.

The performances that Moseley, a faculty member in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Theater and Dance, will lead this week, though, are a triumph all their own. After two years dark, show-wise, due to the pandemic, she will usher the all-student UCSB Dance Company back onto a public stage for a season-opening concert with a decidedly perfect name, “REBOUND.”

Taking place at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 3 and Friday, March 4, in UCSB’s Ballet Studio Theater, “REBOUND” is the company’s first full performance since March 2020. Tickets are $15 for general admission, or $11 for UCSB students, staff, faculty and alumni, seniors and children.

“I have directed the UCSB Dance Company for over thirty years, and had taken the dancers to Europe each year for nine years,” said Moseley, who has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Santa Barbara Dance Alliance. “The students in the department look forward for three years to becoming a member of the company, participating in all the performances throughout the year, and touring to Europe in the spring. In March of 2020, our 10th anniversary tour was abruptly cancelled, leaving the seniors with no performances (and no classes) through the end of the year. The next year, because of Covid restrictions, the company had to dance outside most of the time and still could not perform.

“This year,” she added, “the company was able to ‘rebound’ into the studio and onto the stage with energy and passion.”

They’ll channel that energy and passion into an array of pieces by a diverse group of choreographers invited by Moseley to create or re-stage works on the company. Among them are guest artist Yusha-Marie Sorzano, who drew on her Caribbean heritage in creating a new contemporary work. Derion Loman, an alumnus of UCSB, and partner Madison Olandt co-choreographed “Group Autogenics.” Working from her living room, faculty member Nancy Colahan choreographed a series of solos that have been reset as “Pandemic Suite.” Repertory also will include a re-staging of “Mazurkas” by José Limón, as re-constructed by Professor Emerita Alice Condodina, and the short work “Ride,” by Joshua Manculich.

Completing the program is a dance film featuring the company created by Jayne Butler, a graduate of the UCSB Department of Theater and Dance and recipient in 2021 of the Arnhold Award for Professionalism and Generosity of Spirit. The film explores the unique position that dancers experience as members of Generation Z in relation to social and climate issues, using Santa Barbara’s open spaces as a background to artistically support the choreography.

“My passion has always the performance aspect of dance,” said Moseley, who made a dance film herself during the last academic year. “Years of performing transitioned to years of directing students in performance and eventually directing them on tour — another aspect of my personal passion — including the UCSB Dance Company.

“In this production, four choreographers are women and four are men, so it is evenly split,” she noted. “The dance department at UCSB is predominantly female, though we are working toward a balanced faculty. In the field, male choreographers outnumber female choreographers. Many of the great pioneers in modern were women — Doris Humphrey, Martha Graham, Isadora Duncan, Trish Brown — but I don’t feel any distinction between men and women. Everyone has a unique creative contribution to make to the field of modern dance.”

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