Three Diverse Companies Share Common Ground on May 9 at The Granada
State Street Ballet, Detroit’s Eisenhower Dance, and UCSB’s Santa Barbara Dance Theater each bring a unique style to an evening of groundbreaking contemporary dance
State Street Ballet Director Rodney Gustafson believes collaboration broadens perspectives — for artists, audiences, and communities. So when he was approached by Montreal-based choreographer Edgar Zendejas about a work featuring Max Richter’s recomposition of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Gustafson seized the opportunity to collaborate. The result is an evening of eclectic artistry, featuring a world-premiere work performed by three diverse dance companies: State Street Ballet, Eisenhower Dance, and Santa Barbara Dance Theater.
“Interaction with others happens from the moment we are born, always changing and always moving, starting from the new to the old in every relationship,” Zendejas explained. “In The Four Seasons, my idea is to explore the change of seasons within each one of us.” Zendajas has accomplished that in his choreography by showcasing the uniqueness of each company in portraying one of the seasons, culminating in a finale where the stage is shared by all three, creating a new vision through the common language of dance. The signature styles of the companies are well-defined in the first half of the evening’s program, as each showcases a work with choreography that integrates multi-media components:
• Santa Barbara’s Chris Fossek, master guitarist, composer, and top-ten Billboard recording artist has teamed up with choreographer William Soleau to create a new work for State Street Ballet. The inspiration for the piece comes from the paintings of artist Mark Rothko. Soleau describes the piece, entitled Canvas, as “music and dance layered like paint on a canvas. Chris will perform the music live on stage where the colors of the guitar take the dancers through an emotional journey of human interactions.”
• Detroit’s Eisenhower Dance, who last collaborated with State Street Ballet on the popular Motown in Motion, brings Between Shadow and Soul to the stage. The piece was originally created as part of The Light Show, a production that paired choreographers with lighting designers and gave them the task of creating a work based on unique lighting design. Choreographer Gina Patterson was teamed with New York lighting designer Burke Brown for this production, described as “gorgeous and passionate” by Eisenhower Dance Artistic Director Laurie Eisenhower.
• Artistic Director Christopher Pilafian has incorporated a projection of a painting from his Penumbrae series in Santa Barbara Dance Theater’s presentation of Smolder. Pilafian said his piece is “a chamber work that sprang from a color and a piece of music. I was reading A Perfect Red, about the centuries-long search for a crimson pigment. At the same time I fell under the spell of one of Rachmaninoff’s beautiful pieces.”
Gustafson explained that directing State Street Ballet for the past 20 years has shown him that collaborative work has the deepest and most meaningful impact on the community at large.” With that in mind, State Street Ballet has organized outreach programs, master classes, and pre-performance discussions to fully involve audiences in all facets of this creative milestone.
Common Ground is funded by Sara Miller McCune (20th Anniversary Sponsor); Margo Cohen- Feinberg and Tim Mikel (Performance Sponsors); the City of Santa Barbara in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission; the Santa Barbara Independent, and Santa Barbara News- Press (media sponsors).
There will be one performance only: May 9, 7:30 pm, at The Granada Theatre. Tickets are available online HERE or The Granada box office, 805.899.2222. Tickets are priced from $35-55; Patron tickets, $103; Student/children's tickets, $23. Group Discounts (for parties of 10 or more) are available. Special discount for UCSB Dance 45 students with ID.
Read the NOOZHAWK article about Common Ground HERE.