The Synapse Dance Co. Presents for SMC's 75th Anniversary

Literature, music and dance have always, and will forever, play an integral role in our human existence. Artwork, in all forms, speaks to the individual and provides him or her with a self-interpreted answer to whatever questions they may have.

On Sunday, March 13, alumni of the Synapse Dance Theatre presented a program entitled "Synapse Alum At Highways." The show was held at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica and was part of SMC's 75th Anniversary celebration.

"We try and incorporate a lot of different aspects into the show," said Madeline Burke, a dance production technician at Santa Monica College.

"There are a variety of dance styles being performed including ballet, jazz, tap and hip-hop. This is an opportunity for the student choreographers to showcase their talents in front of an audience and in new performance space," said Burke.

The program consisted of 11 different choreographers, each displaying their own individual style. The show also contained 11 different segments, all of which premiered a new from of interpretive dance.

"Everyone who put the show together was amazing. I loved Nguyen Nguyen's work!" said Luaana Budahi, an SMC student and dancer.

Nguyen, who attended UCLA as an undergraduate and received his degree in microbiology and molecular genetics, was one of the choreographers in the celebration. He currently studies under numerous well-known dancers, such as Charlotte Richards, Maria Gillespie and Cati Jean.

The artistic director for this program was Linda Gold, who has worked extensively in the dancing and choreography field for numerous years. "If you do something that you care about, then you can commit yourself more fully," she said about her profession.

After majoring in dance at the University of Cincinnati, she became interested in film and eventually earned a double major in dance therapy.

She has toured throughout the world with companies such as the World Festival of Sacred Music, Spirit Dances and the Joffrey Ballet.

She has taught at Santa Monica College for over 25 years and has taken the dance program to a new level.

"Students want to know what the possibilities in dance are. Our philosophy is to open the doors into dance as wide as the individual wants," said Linda.

Linda worked together with musician and AET professor David Javelosa, who incorporated his ideas surrounding motion-activated sound and images throughout the show. Javelosa focused upon the idea of interactive media and the event showed some signs of this new form of technology.

"The show was filled with absolutely beautiful images! The whole thing was very dramatic!" said Malena Pese, an SMC student who experienced the ensemble.

Gold works together with Judith Douglas, and both have a phenomenal amount of experience in their specific field of dance and choreography.

"We each are presently focusing on two different forms of dance," said Douglas, a professor of dance at SMC. At the moment she is working on a more traditional ensemble named "Folklorico" that Santa Monica College students will be performing this April.

"It focuses more on world dance such as African, Indonesian, Mexican and Asian," said Douglas.

The show on March 13 dealt more with modern aspects of dance and music, such as traditional dance integrated into popular culture. It included poetry, video and the never-ending possibilities in which dance can be performed.

"The idea of being at Santa Monica College is not so much the training of a great dancer, but a chance for people to be in better touch with themselves," said Gold.

The Synapse Dance Company is in its 16th year of promoting dance performances, and deals largely with the more socially diverse art forms.

"It was quite an experience fitting 30 people on stage and 111 in the audience! The dancers were very close to the audience, which made it interesting," said Chris Capp, the technical director of the event.

The show ended as an amazing experience for those who were fortunate to attend and see the brilliant, beauty of the dance, poetry and video. At the end of the mixed-media show, the audience loudly applauded the performers.

Audience member Jacob Miles, capturing the evening, said, "It was an unbelievable brilliant show."