Thursday, November 9, 2017
Now in its second season, SBCC’s Collective Collaborative returned to the New Vic for an expertly curated dance program highlighting disciplines from ballet to contemporary dance. Director Tracy Kofford blended company work with more than two dozen guest artists for an evening that managed to straddle veneration for both the individual dancer (Ron Davis from The PGK Project and Frankie Harman from S.B. Dance Arts were mesmerizing) and the choreographer (Jess Harper’s “Time to Tang” offered richly executed comic relief). But it was within the context of the program’s roots — the desire to provide a professional platform for student dancers exploring a career in the movement arts — that three of the evening’s offerings managed to stand out among a sea of noteworthy approaches.
Kofford’s “Cascading Failures,” a raw and potent embodiment of human strength in all of its glorious intricacies, was at once earthy and otherworldly, capturing the essence of a generation on the brink. In “Déjà vu for Strings and Percussion,” choreographer Nancy Colahan painted a vibrant landscape of pulsating power for her UCSB Dance Company, offering richly woven patterns of movement and method that highlighted soloist Nicole Nistal’s electric presence. And yet it was in Shelby Lynn Joyce’s achingly light gesture of pedestrian sensibility, “alethia”— which made me tear up unexpectedly as SBCC’s company dancers ebbed and flowed across the stage’s expanse with captivating deliberation — where the rousing spirit of a new generation confidently assured us all that the kids are, indeed, alright.