The 2018 Spring Dance Concert titled “Kalopsia: Delusions of Beauty” played in UCSB’s Hatlen Theater from April 12-14. Assistant Professor Brandon Whited from the Dance Department directed the performance which showcased the work of the graduating class of dancers and choreographers in UCSB’s BFA program.
Graduating seniors not only choreographed and performed but also planned the sets, costumes, and stagecraft. The dancers conveyed specific and powerful messages, which the audience could anticipate from the evocative titles in the program, including “With All My Love…,” “By the Light of the Moon,” “Catharsis,” and “Rock Bottom / New Beginning.”
Each elaborate piece, which professionals or students designed, utilized the impressive audio, visual, and lighting systems of Hatlen Theater to create an immersive experience. Student choreographers worked with lighting directors, sound editors, and 2-D artists to develop their artistic visions for the stage.
Additionally, student costume designers Cynthia Marin, Keren Rosenthal, Jeffrey Hampton, ZiXin Ye, Luis Cornejo, and Cierra Costello helped give every performance a unique look, complementing each piece perfectly. Some of the most memorable outfits were white bags over the performers’ heads, ripped gray jumpsuits, and black-and-red laced attire.
While the show was more of a slow, dramatic, and interpretive dance concert than something you’d see on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” general audiences seemed to relish it nonetheless. I was expecting more lively and action-packed pieces, showcasing the dancer’s wide range of talents and the choreographers’ quick-thinking direction, but I was pleased with what I got instead.
Fourth-year ballet dancer Patricia Martin choreographed a sweet, modern dance piece to the songs “I’ll Keep You Safe,” “Overture,” and “Almost Idyllic” by Sleeping at Last. The three female and two male dancers wore nightdress outfits and constantly hugged and supported one another, illustrating the theme of friendly comfort.
Bianca Salazar, a member of UCSB’s Senior Dance Company, Nebula Dance Lab, and Selah Dance Collective, choreographed the second number, “Higo.” The girls in the piece clearly conveyed emotions of conflict as they tripped, fell, and slapped themselves throughout the work.
Fourth-year dance and psychology major Katie Winans choreographed “By the Light of the Moon,” which featured “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King after dialogue about friendship played instead of music at the onset.
Aspiring teacher and fourth-year Moira Saxena titled her piece “In Plain Sight.” This complicated number highlighted two hip-hop dancers with bags on their heads in the foreground as it slowly introduced a pair of traditional ballroom dancers in the back behind a sheer divider.
Born in the Philippines and trained in Santa Barbara, fourth-year Dianne Robleza hopes to continue to perform in Los Angeles after graduation. Her piece, “Catharsis,” showcased her ability to convey a full range of feelings. This number contrasted the purging of emotions of winter, darkness, and depression with springtime, light, and contentedness.
Fourth-year and Seattle native Mica Moody choreographed the final piece. This piece utilized dark and oftentime red lighting, an eerie fog machine, purely black or red laced outfits, and dramatic, exhilarating electronic body music (EBM). This included “Oozed” by Porkchop and “Diluted Brains” by Rezz.
Visiting, renowned choreographer Jacqulyn Buglisi also presented a piece titled “Moss Variations #3,” which she dedicated to the work of Carla Moseley, a local dance teacher, choreographer, and set and costume designer. The piece was accompanied by a small explanation in the program, “Dedicated to the preservation of our environment, Moss Variations #3 addresses climate change and awakens us to the need for reciprocity with the natural world to ensure mankind’s existence.”
This year’s Spring Dance Concert provided a stage for the graduating senior class to showcase its talents, of which the students took full advantage. Their efforts manifested in the range of complex, meaningful pieces.