The Timeless and the Contemporary

Any dance show that has music by Handel, edgy rock, flamenco, and elements of hip-hop and electronica, is ambitiously eclectic from the get-go. The choreography in Santa Barbara Dance Theater’s NOW/EVER/MORE was equally varied and satisfying for anyone who likes to be surprised and thrilled by what comes next during an evening at the theater. Artistic director Christopher Pilafian’s 2 pieces fit the bill, first with “Chamber Fantasy,” a newly minted comically baroque humoresque set in a bride-to-be’s boudoire, and a reprise of his “Mystique,” a large scale homage to women featuring scenery based on local artist Mary Heebner’s paintings. Guest choreographers are an important part of SBDT’s m.o. and for this spring showcase audiences were treated to works by two. Andrea Schermoly’s quirkily formal and abstract “Hers,” had a backdrop of changing “Rorschach” visuals reinforcing the notion that art is in the eye of the beholder. David Maurice’s “Were It Not for Shadows” is filled with wonderfully heterogeneous vignettes about our fast-paced life in the 21st century. Mr. Maurice also danced his solo piece “Liminal Red,” a touching and affecting series of snapshots choreographically exploring the challenges, pleasures and dangers young African-American males face in these trying times. Jane Dudley’s 1944 solo work “Cante Flamenco,” restaged by Nancy Colahan, was passionately performed by the wondrous Christina Sanchez.  There seems to be a great deal of cross pollination in contemporary dance, a similarity to the “language” used by many, but this show had a lot of startlingly original choreography and takes SBDT another notch higher in fulfilling their goal demonstrating the timelessness of art, from the 17th century to right now.