Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Jun 29th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Shall We Dance?

AE_dance1_janelThis sensational weeklong celebration of dance returns to Santa Cruz for the third year
Watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers glide and sway gracefully through 1930s musicals such as Top Hat and Flying Down to Rio is an unequivocal visual treat. There’s just something about seeing dancers perform their fine tuned craft that is at once supremely delightful and innately inspirational—as if our bodies are made to dance and the movements must simply be gently pulled and coaxed from them.

But before you add myriad musicals to your Netflix queue, consider this—National Dance Week Santa Cruz will be taking over the city for the third year running and the festivities will be bigger and better than ever. Watching aerial dancers swirl high above your head or the sizzling sensuality of a couple dancing the tango in front of your eyes is a far superior experience to anything you could possibly see on HDTV.

AE_dance1_nocsunPresented by the community-based organization Santa Cruz Dance/santacruzdance.com, National Dance Week Santa Cruz (from April 29 to May 7) is the pinnacle of all annual dance events. It represents such a wide array of genres and presents them in a plethora of ways to thousands of Santa Cruz County residents and visitors throughout the week. “It was the community’s response to this event back in 2008 that inspired us to continue National Dance Week Santa Cruz,” says Abra Allan, project manager and coordinator of National Dance Week Santa Cruz. “The 2008 event was a very last-minute inspiration. We began planning the event in February of that year and with a dozen phone calls were able to pull together a group of dancers to perform. We were not sure what to expect, but the response was amazing. Attendance was large and there seemed to be a buzz. I knew after the first kick-off event back in 2008 that this was an event the community wanted and loved,” she exclaims.

For those that may still be unfamiliar with the event, National Dance Week Santa Cruz takes the art form of dance and brings it to life for all of Santa Cruz County to see. The event includes such aspects as Dancing in the Streets, where dancers perform on stages set up downtown; Open Classes in which locals are encouraged to attend dance studios across the county for free instruction; Dance in Unlikely Places where you will see dancers popping up in bookstores, cafes and shops downtown; and Out of the Studios and Into the Streets in which local dance instructors will teach free demonstration classes on the streets of downtown Santa Cruz. Another unique aspect of National Dance Week Santa Cruz is that it works in collaboration with the First Friday Art Tour.

AE_dance_hoopAll forms of dance will commingle in galleries with other art genres such as painting and sculpting. “We have taken our collaboration with the First Friday Art Tour to another level,” Allan explains. “‘Off the Walls,’ will be working with multiple galleries in town to present site-specific dance including the Santa Cruz Art League, The Davenport Gallery, The Mill as well as seven other downtown galleries. Participating dancers include Motion Pacific Studio's Resident Dance Company, Flex, Zari Le'on, Baile Folklorico and Te Hau Nui, to name a few,” she says. Nearly every style of dance is represented during National Dance Week, including ballet, tango, samba, belly dance, contemporary, swing, Polynesian and oh so many more.

National Dance Week Santa Cruz is a boon for the local dance community in that it builds awareness of the sheer variety of dance genres offered in our area. The event also attracts thousands of people to the streets of downtown, thereby bringing revenue to local businesses. Previous years have seen steady growth in attendance, and this year, Allan expects to see the same upward trend. “National Dance Week Santa Cruz has grown in dancers as well as audience and participants,” the enthusiastic coordinator of the event says. “Our first year presenting our kick-off event, Dancing in the Streets, had an attendance of approximately 2,000 people. Last year that number at least doubled. I expect that the growth will be consistent this year as well. We have been very fortunate that the city of Santa Cruz Redevelopment Agency, The Downtown Association of Santa Cruz as well as the Santa Cruz Cultural Council have been huge advocates of this event this year, allowing us to spread the word farther and wider than before,” Allan continues. Because of such generosity from local agencies, Allan goes on to say that each piece of National Dance Week will be bigger in scale and more diverse in dance genres than the two previous years.

AE_dance1_adrienneThe amazing outpouring of community support, involvement and enthusiasm for the event has prompted a whirlwind of inexorable excitement about National Dance Week Santa Cruz 2010. An estimated 400 dancers will be participating, including many dance groups that have not been previously involved. “We have included a much broader range of contemporary dance with companies such as Flex and UCSC's Random with a Purpose as well as a group called Flying Scarves,” Allan explains. “Michael Mpyngu will be bringing in some mambo, and Danhda Da Hora and her company will be dancing Afro Brazilian. We are also very excited to have Baile Folklorico, a children's Mexican Folklorico group, who will be dancing as part of First Friday at the New Davenport Gallery. … And in the three years that Santa Cruz Dance has presented National Dance Week, this will be the first year that the Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre will perform. … We are very excited to have them,” Allan says.

Ok, so maybe you do still want to watch Astaire and Rogers fire up the dance floor in The Gay Divorcee—one of their most popular performances—but once their fleet feet have inspired you, hit the streets of downtown and get involved in a dancing odyssey of your own.


National Dance Week Santa Cruz will take place throughout Santa Cruz County from Thursday, April 29 through Friday, May 7. For the complete schedule of events and list of free classes visit santacruzdance.com.
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

I Was a Teenage Deadhead

Memories of life on tour, plus the truth about that legendary Santa Cruz Acid Test

 

I Build a Lighted House and Therein Dwell

Wednesday, June 24, Chiron turns stationary retrograde (we turn inward) at 21.33 degrees Pisces. We usually speak of “retrograde” when referring to Mercury. But all planets retrograde. Next month in July, Venus retrogrades. What is Chiron retrograde? Chiron represents the wound within all of us. Wounds have purpose. They sensitize us; make us aware of pain and suffering. Through our wounds we develop compassion. Through compassion we become whole (holy) again. Chiron helps develop these states of consciousness. Everyone carries a wound. Everyone carries family wounds (family astrology tracks the astrological “DNA” through generations). Chiron wounds are deep within. We’re often not aware of them until Chiron retrogrades. Then the wounds (through pain, hurt, sadness, suffering) become apparent. They seem to break us open emotionally, psychologically. Painful events from the past are remembered. They are brought to the present for healing. Through experiencing, talking about and deeply feeling what is hurting us, healing takes place. We begin to understand and bring healing to others. All week, Jupiter and Venus move closer together in the sky. They meet in Leo at the full moon, Cancer solar festival, on Wednesday, July 1. The Cancer keynote is, “I build a lighted house and therein dwell.” The soul’s light has finally penetrated the “womb” of matter. The New Group of World Servers is to radiate this light. At the end of each sign are keywords to use and remember during the Chiron retrograde.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of June 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Kickin' Chicken

Local kitchen alchemist Justin Williams is fast becoming a cult flavor master. His late-night wizardry, which began last fall delivering mainly to starving UCSC students, is catching on with taste buds beyond campus. Kickin’ Chicken delivers its spicy-sweet fried chicken and waffles to Westside residents between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. nightly. Or you can catch him and his brother and sister, Candice and Danny Mendoza, serving it up at their “Sunday Mass” at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge at 1001 Center St. in Santa Cruz. Using sous vide, a French method of cooking chicken in a water bath at a tightly controlled temperature, they then flash fry it for an amazingly crispy coat. Candice Mendoza spoke to GT about Kickin’ Chicken’s rise.

 

What’s a creative new approach to addressing summer beach litter?

Robotic dogs, with duct tape on their paws, that walk around picking up litter wherever they go. Joaquin Heinz, Santa Cruz, Barista

 

Pelican Ranch Winery

The most popular red wines found on store shelves are also those most commonly known, such as Pinot, Zinfandel and Merlot. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Pelican Ranch Winery’s Cinsault ($19), it opens up a whole new world. Cinsault is a grape that can tolerate heat, so it is found in countries with warmer climes such as Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, and France. It’s rare in California but grows well in places like Lodi—Silvaspoons Vineyard in this particular case—where it’s hot and dry. Often used as a blending grape, the silky Cinsault is just fine on its own.

 

Open Wide

Soif’s soft reboot leads to expanded menu, plus the ‘thinking woman’s ketchup’