SMC dancers prepare for Global Motion & Synapse

Elegant footwork on the studio floor was on display as the Santa Monica College dance department prepared its fleet of dancers for the upcoming Global Motion and Synapse dance shows that have won wide acclaim during previous semesters.

The first of these spectacles will be Global Motion, which will be held at The Broad Stage at the Performing Arts Campus on March 16-17.

Male and female performers gathered at the campus gym over the last two weeks to do a run through of Global Motion, which features dances and stories from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East.

Sri Susilowati, an SMC dance instructor and one of the directors of the Global Motion program, is very excited about the upcoming performances.

"We have 12 different pieces and the theme of the show this semester is storytelling. The stories could be contemporary, classical or folk," said Susilowati. "The most challenging thing is rehearsal. Some of our dancers for example, have never done Irish step dance. In one semester they learned. That's a big accomplishment."

Guest Irish choreographer Mora Clerkin was on hand to oversee the rehearsals of a piece that dives into her native country's folk roots.

"I selected a Celtic legend, it's about one giant in Ireland and how he is being followed by a giant in Scotland and he's very afraid and luckily his wife saves him, as usually happens," she said.

Isabela Pruma, an SMC dance student, is looking forward to the costumes and hopes that the audience will be moved by the strength of the performances.

"There are going to be a lot of exciting outfits," she said. "There are a lot of flowing movements. I hope people who come will want to get up and dance."

Echoing Pruma's sentiments, SMC dance student Cruz Guzman also hopes the audience takes something out of the dances, as well as learn about other cultures.

"It has been fun, it has been a learning experience. You learn about other cultures," she said. "I hope they[the audience] understand the emotions we're portraying."

A few days after, another group of dancers and instructors gathered to run through Synapse, the show that instead of emphasizing global culture, focuses on more personal, contemporary forms of dance.

Luciana Tarantino, an SMC dance student who is participating in Synapse, is eager about performing in the program for the first time.

"I wanted to try something new," she said. "It's challenging but rewarding. It's broadening my horizons. The hardest part is the back to back rehearsals, six hours a day."

Joining the production is guest choreographer Jordan Signs, who found inspiration for a piece in the phenomenon of sleep paralysis.

"I get it[sleep paralysis] a lot, I've experienced it a number of times in cycles," she said. "I worked with the dancers twice a week for an hour and a half."

Helping lead the way for Synapse is SMC dance instructor and choreographer Angela Jordan, who is very enthusiastic about what's in store for the audience.

"There will be a variety of styles, great technique and great artistic vision," said Jordan. "And of course great dancing."