Derrick Curtis


photo by Am Wu

Artist Biography
Derrick Curtis is a physical education specialist and recreation therapist at Montessori Center School.  Derrick has taught dance in Santa Barbara for more than 23 years as a recreation therapist and ballroom dance instructor.  He offers instruction in Competitive Ballroom emphasizing both Smooth & Latin rhythms, Club Dances (Night Club Two Step, Salsa, Chicago Two Step, West Coast Swing) Line Dances (Cha Cha Slide, Electric Slide, Hustle) and Party Dances (Cotton Eye Joe, Virginia Reel, Macarena and more). He was an assistant instructor with Kay Fulton at Santa Barbara City College and the Adult Education ballroom dance program. Derrick implements an ongoing youth dance programs at Montessori Center School, Cleveland and Elwood Elementary schools with his wife Trudie Olsen.  He served on the Board of Directors for the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance and The Brotherhood of Santa Barbara. He has been the production director for BASSH (ballroom, argentine tango, swing, salsa and hip hop) the annual dance concert showcase at the Lobero Theater from it's inception.  He has performed in the swing dance troupe, “The Flying Lindy Hoppers” and choreographed dance routines for Santa Barbara Youth Theater, BASSH, Multi-Cultural Festival, Dance Day Santa Barbara and Solstice.  Derrick created the Stomp Out Tobacco Swing Nights and promoted the Yucatan Swing Nights.   Derrick is the recipient of SBDA’s 12 Lifetime Achievement Award for contribution to dance in Santa Barbara.

Artist Statement
To explore natural movement and move without reservation.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?
It can feel isolated as a working artist. I go into the studio weekly with my dancers and sometimes I wonder "What is THIS all about?" I look forward to talking with artists who ask the same question and are open to discourse about the art form and where we can take it as individuals and as a community of artists. Plus, I work with an amazing group of dancers who deserve to dance for as many audiences as possible.

Have you participated in Festivals before? If so, what worked and what didn't work for you? What would you like to see more or less of?
I have participated in the Oxnard Festival, Avacado, Multi-Cultutal, African American, Dance Day, Solstice. What works is knowing the time-line and schedule. What doesn't work are surprised. I am open to the wonders of creativity.

Verbal Description of the work you would like to bring to the Festival
I wish to present Ballroom Samba and Cha Cha with Argentine Tango & Flamenco as one piece and a traditional Lindy Hop and Jazz dance as another.