Advanced youth dancers at Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Dance practice on first day at Community Arts Workshop.

Advanced youth dancers at Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Dance practice on first day at Community Arts Workshop.  (Ninette Paloma)

This fall marks a new season for Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Dance (SBCAD) and the Community Arts Workshop (CAW), as the dance company moves its art and approach downtown, and CAW begins a collaboration with a new company in residence.

“The Arts Collaborative couldn’t be more excited to host the Centre for Aerial Dance,” said Casey Caldwell, managing director of CAW. “Their special combination of artistic excellence, love for community, and empowerment of young dancers is a perfect fit for the CAW.

“It’s a huge step forward in our continuing work to build the CAW into a multi-disciplinary home for our local artistic community. With the new round of renovations we’re completing this fall, we look forward to having many more companies like SBCAD building a long-term home here at the CAW.”

“Our new residency will transform the way we approach craft and community,” said Ninette Paloma, artistic director of SBCAD. “We’re looking forward to drawing inspiration and collaboration from our new neighbors in the theater and arts district.”

The Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Dance has spent 13 years cultivating a unique esthetic and a movement language. “Every season, we throw open our studio doors to shift and shape the way aerial dance is defined on a global scale,” said Paloma. “After 13 years, we believe we’re on to something pretty fantastic.”

Yet, the art of aerial dance was never the end game for SBCAD; what defines SBCAD and keeps its staff in the studios late at night and into the early mornings is the possibility that they might have a lasting impact on how artists walk through the world.

“We’re working to encourage strong, hardworking, confident, emotionally intelligent, and artistically aware human beings that move through their every day with chins higher and shoulders more defined,” Paloma said.

As of Sept. 2, the Centre for Aerial Dance is now in residence at the CAW, Santa Barbara’s visionary space where “people come together, make and see great work, and spread inspiration.”

Nestled between the city’s arts and theater district and the energy of the Funk Zone, students will “embark on a new journey of site-specific exploration and the discovery of authentic expression as it relates to movement and environment,” SBCAD said.

Each four-month series (September-December and January-April) will include skill and technique development in the aerial disciplines of fabrics, metals, and invented apparatus; contemporary dance concepts; choreography and performance development; and works in progress showings.

For more about SBCAD and to sign up for classes, visit

For the Arts Collaborative, Caldwell said, “What we’re most excited about is not just providing the SBCAD a downtown location and more exposure, but creating new collaborations between them and us and other users of the CAW that will further empower their work and the value the CAW provides the community.”

“The CAW has always been a two-plus-two-equals-five proposition,” said Rod Hare, co-founding board member of the Arts Collaborative. “We believe that when you have brilliant, big-hearted artists working in proximity with each other, great things will happen that you wouldn’t have imagined before.

“Having SBCAD here long-term, alongside the theater artists, visual artists, festival artists, and all the other creative people that use our space, adds a huge figure to that equation,”

The Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative will also be completing a new round of renovations at the CAW this fall —adding roll-up doors and windows to rooms that had previously been exposed to the elements — that will be a step forward in the year-round usability of the space.

For more about the plans for CAW, visit

— Casey Caldwell for Santa Barbara Community Arts Workshop.