Female dancers in costume circled in motion on a darkened stage
Photo Credit
Stephen Sherrill

UCSB Dance Company explores spectrum of human sensibility through the lens of female choreographers

Choreographed by the dancer Madison Olandt, the work “Luna” explores the complexity of femininity, from physical form to societal expectations. How is femininity performed? What is its essence and how is it harnessed? In her piece, these questions are considered and addressed through movement, set to original music.

Olandt’s work is one of seven — all by woman choreographers — that comprise “Full Circle(link is external),” by UCSB Dance Company. Marking the pre-professional company’s first full production of the year, the contemporary dance concert at UC Santa Barbara’s Hatlen Theater features three commissioned works and restages four already successful works. It runs March 9–11, including a pre-show talkback with the choreographers on Friday, March 10.

“In the spring of 2022, when the casting for UCSB Dance Company 2022–23 was determined to be 16 female and non-binary dancers, I was inspired by the idea of supporting this group with inviting all female choreographers to set works on the company,” said Delila Moseley, the company’s artistic director and a continuing lecturer in the Department of Theater and Dance.

“I suggested works that explored or expressed any aspects of life relating to ‘female’/’woman,’” she added. “The circle theme resonates as feminine to me, while the ‘full circle’ is the path the choreographers have taken — in many forms — away from UCSB, and returning to UCSB. I hope the audience is as excited as I am to relish the myriad artistic voices of the female choreographers revealed by the dancers.”

All of the featured choreographers have connections to the campus. Brandt, who has worked with everyone from Katy Perry to Dallas Black Dance Theater, is a returning guest choreographer for the company. In addition to her new piece, “Full Circle” also includes:

  • Christina McCarthy, a graduate of the department, a multi-disciplinary artist and faculty member at UCSB, with “The Letter”
  • Nancy Colahan, a former professional dancer, beloved choreographer and recently retired faculty member, with “No Freedom Like a Dance”
  • danah bella, a graduate of the department, now professor and chair of dance at Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute, with “ama”
  • Weslie Ching, a UCSB graduate and independent choreographer in Santa Barbara, with “The Entirety of Us”
  • Gianna Burright, a UCSB graduate and 2023 Carmel Dance Festival Choreography Fellow, with “to yell in quiet places”
  • Amanda Tran, who received her BFA in choreography and performance from UCSB and now lives and works in Los Angeles, with “Forbes 6.”

Taken altogether, Moseley said, the works reveal “a broad spectrum of human sensibility, seen through the lens of these female choreographers, promising to entice the senses and the mind through prisms of intelligence, insight and beauty.”

UCSB Dance Company performs throughout the Santa Barbara community and tours throughout California and the world. They have twice traveled to Mexico to perform, and to Washington, D.C. to dance in the Gala Performance for the American College Dance Festival. Under Moseley’s artistic direction, the company has toured Europe 10 times, visiting 11 countries and performing in over 20 cities. This spring will mark its 11th annual European tour, with shows scheduled in Norway, Prague, Latvia, Poland and Italy.

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