Pixel Tracker

Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 7:30 pm | Fair 56º


Review: Santa Barbara Dance Theater Takes ‘Leap of Faith’

Santa Barbara Dance Theater, the professional company in residence at UCSB, emerged in a new incarnation last year under the direction of Christopher Pilafian, with dancers Kyle Castillo, Monica Ford, Tracy Ray Kofford and Christina Sanchez.

Pilafian has been working collaboratively with the dancers for most of the past year on an evening-long piece, Leap of Faith, the debut of their inaugural season. This luxuriously, and unusually, long gestation period has birthed a work of great depth and quality.

There is a satisfying array of solos, duets, trios and quartets — vignettes of solitude, intimacy and community. Each dancer has a chance to showcase his or her strengths and individuality, while together they are a powerful ensemble. The movement is varied and inventive, in turns playful, haunting, sensual, combative, languid and joyful.

The overall tone of the evening is serious, but there are moments of lightness and humor that are all the more powerful for their sparing use.

Before the intermission, the dancers pose in a tableau while the curtain drops, and delightfully, 15 minutes later, the curtain rises on them in the same position, as if the pause button had been hit.

A highlight is a duet for the male dancers in the second half. Especially compelling for its rarity, here it is tender without being overtly romantic, a portrayal of humanity in all its nurturing and affectionate glory.

Original music by William Pasley provides texture and an ever-shifting ambiance throughout the work, from swelling strings to gamelan-type gongs to the old-world sound of harpsichord, beautifully fitting each segment. Lighting design by Michael Klaers effectively accents the simple but impressive backdrop of gathered, draping fabric behind a scrim, occasionally offering bursts of bright color.

Leap of Faith runs through Sunday at UCSB’s Hatlen Theater. Be sure to seize this opportunity for a refreshing leap into the new year, and witness the opening of a new chapter for this exceptional company.

— Justine Sutton of Santa Barbara is a freelance writer and frequent Noozhawk reviewer.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.