Santa Cruz joins the nation in celebration of dance

Review by Renée Rothman

National Dance Week, Santa Cruz kicked off last night with a celebration of local dance on three stages. NDW, Santa Cruz is a community festival and its performers are young and old, amateur and professional, students and teachers. It is an opportunity for every dancer, dance company, and dance studio to show off for the wider community. And it’s a chance for the community to discover the remarkable range of dance available in Santa Cruz County.

Located within a half a block of one another, each stage had continuous dancing from 5:30 to 7:30. With schedules in hand, hundreds of fans dashed from stage to stage to catch their favorite groups. Half the fun is planning out your night: if I watch Steps Dance Studio at 6:00 on Stage 2, I can be at Stage 3 in time for Desert Dream and at Stage 1 for Yabas Dance Company. On the other hand…be ready to improvise in case a group you’ve never heard of before surprises you. There were times when I stood at the nexus of all three stages, just spinning around wondering where to go next: modern dance? African? Brazilian? Hip hop? Tap, tango, or tutus? Dear me, whatever shall I do. If you missed it this year, mark it on your calendar for 2012.

All that dashing between stages, sitting on tarmac, squatting on curbs, and holding up a video camera is surprisingly exhausting and I couldn’t make it through to the big fire dance finale. But I left with a smile on my face and the simple happiness of knowing that I am a member of a passionate dance community here in Santa Cruz.

The week isn’t over. There are open classes and more street performances. Check out the program at santacruzdance.com

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