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Posted on April 5, 2017 | 11:15 a.m.

Student Works Take Center Stage at UCSB Dance Concert

Source: Una Mladenovic for UCSB Department of Theater and Dance

The UCSB Department of Theater and Dance will present its 2017 Spring Dance Concert Free | Fall, a student-centered performance comprised of a diverse range of choreographic voices, at 8 p.m. April 13-15 and 2 p.m. April 15 in UCSB’s Hatlen Theater.

Opening the evening UCSB Dance Company members will perform Buffalo by Stephanie Gilliland. It is a high-intensity athletic work that brings the dancers face to face with their inner strength and fragility.

Gilliland, a choreographer based in Los Angeles, describes Buffalo as “a rite of passage, a love note to young dreamers, outsiders and artists on the cusp of adulthood.”

Free | Fall features new, original works by graduating B.F.A. students Rachel Epling, Kelli Forman, Savannah Green and Olivia Maggi.

The concert also marks the return of 2015 B.F.A. alumna, Gianna Burright to restage her work Anywhere I Can See the Moon on select members of the UCSB Dance Company.

Burright’s choreographic process called upon creative collaboration rooted in her emerging research and practice in body-to-body transfer.

A visual ebb and flow, the dance features subtle shifts and circular pathways that give way to a linear directionality evoking a call toward a shared desire for a sense of home.

Epling said she is fascinated by the role of physical contact in human development, and her piece etched in us aims to explore the magnitude and power of tactile sensations and the physical memories bodies can hold, even after the passage of time.

Through collaboration with her dancers, she has been able to create movement, which investigates physical memories of the past and creates new bodily experiences as well.

Life in Cages by Green is an exploration of personal ego from its discovery, transitioning into physical actualization, and finally resulting in decay. The piece reflects ideas of the self-importance that we carry throughout our lives until it is torn away from us in instances of rejection.

Maggi's piece The Breeders takes the audience to a world where there are strict governmental restrictions on reproduction. Carefully chosen young adults must better the community by procreating under oppressive clinical observation; refusal to do so causes them to be discarded from society.

This piece is a narrative that brings up ideas of feeling trapped, transforming, and finding liberation. It also comments on gender and sexuality, and how the government holds power onto that.

In a personal response to the tumultuous state of politics, capitalism, and ongoing threats to the environment, Forman offers her piece toward the yin as a reflection of the power of art and community to engage such issues.

She suggests that “Water is life and oil is death, but for some reason we continue digging up death, utilizing it towards sustaining 21st century life (or perceived human vitality).”

Reflecting on such timely, vital concerns, she conjures this work as a call to arms, and spiritual reflection in the shape of a dance.

Closing the evening, the Dance Company will perform a heritage work by a scion of modern dance, José Limón.

In a flurry of quick, intricate crossings, entrances and exits, and complex division of the cast into small groups in precise unison, the dancers take on the Running Dance, an excerpt from Limón’s masterful work, Psalms.

Tickets prices are general admission, $17; senior, child, student, UCSB faculty/staff/alumni, $13.

— Una Mladenovic for UCSB Department of Theater and Dance.

 
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