Folklorico Spring Show

Brightly dressed Senoritas, stomping head dressed Aztecs, gallivanting ballerinas, evening gown waltzing dames and voluptuous navel baring belly dancers all entertained the Broad Stage on May 3, for Santa Monica Colleges Folkloric de Santa Monica dance repertoire.

"All the dancers worked very hard every night to prepare for this performance and I hope you enjoy it," announced Judith Douglas, Santa Monica College's head of the dance department before the curtains swung open during the final night of the two night, sold out show.

The hour a half performance, demonstrated different cultural dances mostly dominated by Mexican and Central American Folk, was kind of like a dance performance version of Disney Land's "It's A Small World" park ride, cultural and leaving you with a smile on your face when you left.

It offered 15 different dance performances and wardrobe changes giving you a journey around the world and back through time from an auditorium seat. One minute a fan flaring geisha would be stepping side to side the next minute a tequila carrying senorita would be shaking her hips. The evening's line-up consisted of Mexican Tabasco, Guatemalan Folk, and Egyptian Belly Dance, Spanish Flamenco, Lyrical Jazz, Tap, Aztec, Ballroom, Yiddish, Ballet, Salsa, Chinese Ta Ge and West African Semba.

The wardrobe throughout the evening was all very authentic, bright and eye mesmerizing and creative. Large floral dresses, sequenced mini gowns, hats, wigs dressed and accessorized the all student cast of dancers. The Quality of the show was impeccable and very impressive, showing off the quality and time Santa Monica College dedicates to their students and performances; a prime example of what makes SMC so renowned.

Students and others gathered in front of the box office hoping to purchase tickets for the sold out show. Many getting turned away if they did not purchase tickets in advance.

"Do you think you can sneak me in through the back door?" a student asked another.

The very popular Folklorico De SMC was created in 1974 under the direction of Judith Douglas and is dedicated to the education and preserving of world dance; aiming to get students familiar and experienced with world dance and with the cultures in which we derived from. The show is semi annual and auditions are held each semester. According to Douglas, about 100 students auditioned and Sixty were accepted and called back to join the Spring Semester's performance.

Throughout the evening, many student dancers and accompanists engaged one another on stage. Live bongo drums, fruit baskets, and machete knives were some of the things all used to create the setting and character.

All performances were entertaining and well demonstrated. A particular performance that was a crowd eye opener was when Sara Reich, choreographer and professional tap dancer did a solo performance titled, "Conversation" in which Reich improvised intense tap dancing on a wood plank. A man using a drum enticed her. During her tap performance, all that was heard were the sounds of a drum beating followed by her metal soled tap shoes pounding away on the wood. Her and the accompanist challenged each other in a dance and drum off. At the end of the "Conversation," Reich gave the drummer a cash tip in his straw basket, the audience loudly cheered and applause as Reich and the drummer left the stage.

All the dances and sequences were unique, animated and amusing to watch. It was obvious that all involved worked very hard to achieve the Folklorico de SMC legacy that continues every semester. All dance students or those interested in dance are encouraged to audition. The auditions for fall 2009 Semester will be held Thursday, September 9. "It's been a labor of love," said Douglas.