I always look forward to the Dance Concerts at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz. Every time I go, I walk out elated at seeing size-diverse talented young dancers, performing with intense professional energy, in varied and frequently exciting new dance works. I went to the Winter Dance Concert on Sunday. This is not written only in praise of the fat dancers – this is about all of them together.
I started going to the concerts because of family. My daughter Cid and her partner David teach at the school. I went to my first concert for them. Now I go for me.
I got to watch the dancers warming up. They were thin, fat, young, older, varied in race, ethnicity, ability, training, and style. Watching them all do the same movements in their different ways was great.
Obviously, people who are fat, older, disabled etc. are usually are discouraged from doing the work it takes to perform publicly. So seeing an evening of hot dance (modern, Latin, hiphop) with really varied performers was fabulous.
It’s unusual in an evening of 15 works to see pieces performed by lots of dancers. All of the works I’ll discuss involved 15 to 20 dancers
Elemental moves:Air,Water, Fire, Earth (from the Adaptive Dance class), choreographed by Sharon Took-Zozaya and the dancers, was a strong work that beautifully blended performers of limited movement and those with unlimited movement and training. The interactions between the performers created a fine sense of intimacy and mutual support within the larger work. It also was good to see wheelchair dancing in some of the other pieces.
“Flip Side” (from the Repertory class), choreographed by Marissa Valera, was high energy, fine, joyous hiphop dance work. I loved the sweat-suited gender crossing women who were dancing male and occasionally adjusting their crotches as they danced.
The Camper Van Dances (Repertory class), choreographed by Cid Pearlman, was a post punk folk dance, influenced by Busby Berkeley. The work was joyously performed by dancers in funky tutus and boas, combining a powerful unified effect with a real sense of the dancers’ individuality. For me it had a real post punk Americana feel. Music was by Camper Van Beethoven.
La Historia De los Bailarines (Latin repertory class of Watsonville), choreographed by Amy C Farhood. I’d never seen Bachata before. I really liked the choreography, the energy and the use of space. And it’s always wonderful to see something new.
There was lots of other good work.
The concert’s audience dance culture was also interesting. Traditionally you watch modern pieces in silence, carefully holding your applause until the end. The audience is not part of the performance. Hiphop and Salsa audiences participate by making appropriate joyous noises during the performance. The over 300 people in the Sunday matinee audience did a fine job of switching their behavior back and forth depending on the dance.
If you live anywhere near Santa Cruz go to the Spring Concert in 2008.