Tag archives: ballet

Voices on Pointe
By Richard Mineards   |   May 21, 2024

State Street Ballet ended its latest season on a high note with Other Voices at the Lobero. It was a captivating blend showcasing the talents of choreographers who pushed boundaries, redefining the art of dance. A sweeping panorama of innovation. The productions were as thought provoking as they were entertaining. The show featured four short […]

Dance Dimensions: Bounce Back 
By Steven Libowitz   |   May 14, 2024

Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie is an award-winning, New York-based hip-hop “b-girl” with extensive training in ballet and modern dance. Rooted in African American and Latinx street and club dances, her dance company returns to town with her latest exploration of the inherent complexities of the dance forms. Ephrat Asherie Dance‘s latest work ODEON brings together and […]

‘Other Voices’ Make Their Move on State Street
By Steven Libowitz   |   May 14, 2024

State Street Ballet closes out its 2023-24 season with “Other Voices,” a contemporary rep program that takes a sharp turn from its last production, March’s tried-and-true classical ballet take on Cinderella. Aimed at exploring experimental idioms, “Other Voices,” which performs May 10-11 at the Lobero, showcases choreographers pushing ballet’s boundaries and the company dancers’ limits […]

State Street’s ‘Cinderella’ back on stage
By Steven Libowitz   |   March 26, 2024

The choreography for State Street Ballet’s Cinderella has essentially never changed over the nearly 20 years since the family-friendly work premiered in town in 2005 and then went on a sold-out tour around the East Coast of the country. State Street founder and artistic director Rodney Gustafson created the piece just shy of the company’s […]

Lobero Nose Ballet 
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 5, 2023

The annual invasion of local productions of The Nutcracker doesn’t begin until mid-December, as Festival Ballet and then the State Street Ballet roll out their full-fledged renditions of Tchaikovsky’s Christmas classic. But this weekend brings a tasty holiday appetizer, especially for the tots and teens, as State Street Ballet Academy presents Rudolph, the charming holiday […]

‘Giselle’ Excels
By Richard Mineards   |   October 31, 2023

As it prepares to celebrate it 30th anniversary, State Street Ballet staged one of its biggest productions ever at the Granada with its premiere of the hauntingly beautiful two act production, Giselle. New artistic director Megan Philipp, who has taken over from retiring founder Rodney Gustafson, excelled – helming the two-hour show with Ryan Lenkey […]

State Street Ballet Dances into a New Era with ‘Giselle’ 
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 24, 2023

State Street Ballet (SSB) launches its 2023-24 season, its first under new leadership following the transition from founder Rodney Gustafson to new Artistic Director Megan Philipp and Cecily MacDougall as Executive Director. Philipp, who has been with SSB for a decade, is staging this weekend’s performances of Giselle, one of the most beloved ballets of […]

A Gala on Pointe
By Richard Mineards   |   October 3, 2023

It was a scene worthy of Degas as 130 guests arrived at the Santa Barbara home of board member Gary Dorfman for the State Street Ballet gala honoring founder Rodney Gustafson and the Gail Towbes Center for Dance. Dancers, beautifully dressed in full ballet attire, graced the entrance to the boffo bash, which was co-chaired […]

Ballet on Board
By Richard Mineards   |   August 29, 2023

State Street Ballet founder Rodney Gustafson is transitioning to founding director, with appointments of Megan Philipp as artistic director and Cecily MacDougall as executive director. “As we approach our 30th year, I am focused on evolving our repertoire toward a new generation of artistic vision,” says Gustafson, a former dancer with American Ballet Theatre in […]

A Wild Night of Ballet
By Richard Mineards   |   May 9, 2023

It was all too beastly for words when State Street Ballet staged The Jungle Book at the Lobero under the artistic direction of founder Rodney Gustafson and co-artistic director William Soleau. The company, which leaves this month for a two-city tour of Japan – Tokyo and Osaka – after just finishing a southwestern U.S. tour, […]

Ballet in Japan
By Richard Mineards   |   March 21, 2023

Santa Barbara’s State Street Ballet is off to Japan for a two-week tour, including Tokyo and Osaka, in May. Founder and co-artistic director Rodney Gustafson tells me the tony troupe of 19 dancers, accompanied by five staffers, will be performing Jungle Book, which is being danced again on April 29 at the Lobero, and two […]

A Dream Performance
By Richard Mineards   |   March 14, 2023

State Street Ballet’s performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Granada was an enchanting show full of mishaps and mayhem. The William Shakespeare work, with rollicking music written in 1843 by Felix Mendelssohn – he composed the overture when just 17 – and inventive choreography by company founder Rodney Gustafson, transcended the two worlds […]

Spring Program is in the Cards 
By Steven Libowitz   |   March 7, 2023

State Street Ballet’s (SSB) spring show, which has a single performance on Saturday, March 4, at The Granada, is drawn entirely from its existing repertory. But nobody should think the dance concert will be anything less than thrilling. That’s because co-artistic directors Rodney Gustafson and William Soleau have put together a program that covers the […]

Ballet Along the Lake
By Richard Mineards   |   March 7, 2023

The classical 1877 Tchaikovsky ballet Swan Lake took on a whole new complexion when France’s 27-year-old Ballet Preljocaj, based in the charming university city of Aix-en-Provence, performed at the Granada, part of the popular UCSB Arts & Lectures program. With extremely creative video and lighting design by Boris Labbé and Eric Soyer, the 110-minute work […]

Dancing Along Swans, Industry, and Finance
By Steven Libowitz   |   February 28, 2023

In the early days of the pandemic, Angelin Preljocaj, the French choreographer famed for creating contemporary classics, dove into developing his distinctive version of Swan Lake, perhaps the most iconic ballet in the canon. Transforming the timeless tale of love, seduction, betrayal, and remorse into a modern cautionary story of ecological tragedy and societal failure, […]

A Cracking Good Show
By Richard Mineards   |   December 27, 2022

Everybody was clearly going nuts about State Street Ballet’s colorful production of The Nutcracker at the Granada with hardly a seat to be had to watch Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece. Accompanied by the Opera San Luis Obispo Grand Orchestra under substitute conductor Lee Mills, as well as State Street Ballet Academy students and professional track trainees, the […]

Holiday Happenings
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 13, 2022

A Christmas ‘Unicorn’: And Now for Something Completely Different… It would be hard to imagine something more polar opposite from a Christmas show than Bulletproof Unicorn, a one-woman show from Los Angeles-based comedian and singer-songwriter Stacie Burrows rife with dark humor about trying to fix her dysfunctional family that culminates in her estranged, alcoholic brother […]

State Street Ballet
By Steven Libowitz   |   September 6, 2022

It’s no accident that Rodney Gustafson landed in Santa Barbara to launch his State Street Ballet dance company almost three decades ago. The company’s executive and artistic director had targeted returning to town ever since he’d performed as a dancer with the famed American Ballet Theatre (ABT) at the Arlington Theatre many years before. “I […]

Joffrey Stuns at the Granada
By Richard Mineards   |   May 24, 2022

Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet mesmerized at the Granada when they performed for two consecutive nights as part of UCSB’s Arts & Lectures program. The magnificent company under Scottish artistic director Ashley Wheater kicked off the first night with Liam Scarlett’s “Vespertine,” originally created for the Norwegian National Ballet in 2015 and premiering with the Joffrey three […]

Aqua: Turning on the Waterworks at UCSB
By Steven Libowitz   |   May 24, 2022

Back in 2019, veteran UCSB dance professor Valerie Huston and Arizona State University’s dance faculty member Carley Conder teamed up to create Avian for UCSB’s dance students. This casual piece was inspired by Huston overhearing two students talking about a class they were taking called The Mathematics of Origami and featured nine-foot origami birds above […]