Santa Barbara Dance Theater Performance Explores Intimacy & Autonomy | Arts & Entertainment

Santa Barbara Dance Theater (SBDT) will present its 2023 season — Intimacy & Autonomy — featuring the work of guest choreographers Helen Simoneau and David Maurice and a premiere by UCSB dance faculty Brandon Whited, January 18-22, at UCSB’s Hatlen Theater.

This is the second season for Whited, SBDT’s artistic director (he’s also a UCSB associate professor of dance and dance performance director) and 46th.Th company jubilee season.

The upcoming concert reflects a shift in the company’s creative direction towards a project framework and innovative contemporary dance.

Santa Barbara Dance Theater is the only professional dance company in the UC system,

“I am so excited to bring together professional dancers from near and far, visiting choreographers, UCSB dancers and students, and the greater Santa Barbara arts community in this production, which runs through August 2022,” said Whited.

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Last summer, Whited hosted a creative residency with guest choreographers Helen Simoneau and David Maurice, who collaborated with UCSB Dance Summer students to develop new works that will be presented on the Hatlen Stage this month.

This season features Nicole Powell of Carpinteria, Paige Amicon of Los Angeles, Natalie Leibert of Moorpark and UCSB Dance alum, Derion Loman of Los Angeles; with apprentices Riley Haley (UCSB Dance Class of ’24), Sky Pasqual (UCSB Dance Class of ’24), and Dalya Modlin (UCSB Dance Class of ’23).

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Performances include Simoneau’s “Darling,” which explores vulnerability and intimacy through the presence and absence of touch. “Darling” reveals the audience’s own prejudices against the perceived strength and power of the people on stage. This iteration of the piece is a 30-minute redux of the original evening version.

Maurice offers the premiere of “Partial Adaptation” as part of the concert. It arises in the realm of absurd theater, questioning autonomy and the “fourth wall”. For Maurice, “Partial Adaptation” is the beginning of a period of curiosity and exploration of the roles of performers and audience, the abuse of the fourth wall and the autonomy of performers and audience.

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Whited’s “Her (abridged)” is a new ensemble piece for five women—consisting of SDBT dancers and apprentices—that abstractly resonates with the ongoing injustices endured by women. Created in part in collaboration with female dancers, the piece contrasts a gestural exploration of strength and assertiveness with a long-term group partnership that reflects community and mutual support among women.

For tickets and more information, visit or call the box office at 805-893-2064.

Health protocols for 2022-23 events will be established in conjunction with evolving state, local and university guidelines and are subject to change. Check the theater/dance program website for details and updates closer to the event date.


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