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Palomar dance performance showcases range of styles

Dancers perform The Conga during the Faculty Dance Concert in the Howard Brubeck Theatre. The piece was choreographed by Patriceann Mead with musical arrangement by Silfredo La O'Vigo and Mark Lamson. Photo courtesy Hugh Cox
Dancers perform The Conga during the Faculty Dance Concert in the Howard Brubeck Theatre. The piece was choreographed by Patriceann Mead with musical arrangement by Silfredo La O’Vigo and Mark Lamson. Photo courtesy Hugh Cox

Palomar’s dance department put on a final performance of the Faculty Dance concert May 3, that featured a range of dance styles.

Director Patriceann Mead put on a concert filled with merriment, celebration, wonderful music, and dramatic undertones to show the dance department’s range of dance classes including world dance selections such as Afro-Cuban, near and Middle Eastern, Hip Hop, Jazz, Modern, Tap, Ballet, Ballroom, Hawaiian and Tahitian. Having such a range of styles offered is rare for any dance program, especially for a 2-year college, she said.

Palomar has two dance shows per year, Faculty Dance in the Spring and Winter Dance in the Fall. Anybody can perform in the shows by signing up for production classes.

The audience was aflutter as the clock ticked down to showtime. When the lights finally dimmed there was an anticipation in the air. One single spotlight appeared onstage highlighting Mead.

She made a short announcement, then exited the stage. The curtains opened at the center to reveal a live band playing Cuban music. Dancers in multicolored costumes entered the stage and began to gyrate and flounce about in time with the vivacious music.

As the opening number ended the audience began to applaud uproariously. The next dance in the show was Swingtime Boogie, the first of five tap dances choreographed by Valerie Clark. We then saw a classic jazz number entitled “Dancin’ Dan,” choreographed by Sue Gilson.

Next up was a modern piece by Ericka Aisha Moore, which included some lovely moments. This piece had it all. Swirling motion, angular movements, emotion, soul and partnered lifts.

We were then transported to the Middle East by Sohaila’s “Fantasia,” a bellydance routine with four women in gorgeous silken dresses and sparkly bra tops. This piece incorporated fans with silk fabric attached. The girls spun and waved the fans such that the fabric rippled, creating the illusion of flames or water.

Sohaila’s piece ended Act One and left a tranquil atmosphere throughout the theater for the audience to enjoy during intermission.

Act Two opened with a Hula then continued into another tap and another modern piece. The next high point in the show came when School’s Out began.

The story behind this clever, energetic piece is that janitors and lunch ladies find drumsticks in the music room after hours and begin to create rhythms with the sticks. They add in their feet and by the end of the dance both groups are creating complicated sounds that mesh perfectly with the auditory smorgasbord of Meghan Trainor’s “Bang Dem Sticks.”

The show then continued with another dance by Sohaila, a modern dance by Joei Waldron, another Tap, and wrapped up with a Tahitian piece.

After the show, the dancers stayed and Mead came back onstage to introduce faculty and award the prestigious Dancer Awards. Daphne Delgado was the Most Improved, Anna Broberg won the award for being a Quiet Star, Natsumi Kawamura was awarded the Rising Star, and Gian Yubane and Rickey Richardson won the award for Dancer of the Year.

The awards are kept a secret until they are announced onstage. The recipients seemed shocked and elated. Flowers were given out. The audience cheered.

After the show, when asked how he felt when winning the award Richardson said, “At first I was really confused but then I felt really overwhelmed with appreciation and love because I feel like people have noticed the work that Gian and I have put in.”

The lighting designs by Matthew Novotny were superb, as were the costumes by Jane Craig-Jones and Chelsea Marsh.

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Palomar dance performance showcases range of styles