Mendocino College Spring Dance Festival Provides a Strong Platform for the Voices of the Next Generation

April 26, 2017

The Mendocino College Spring Dance Festival celebrates the diversity of dance and how it unites people of all ages and ethnicities in its 16th year!  Dancers take to the Mendocino College stage on Friday and Saturday, May 5 & 6 at 7:30 PM and Sunday, May 7 at 2:00 PM to share what they have to say, through movement, with audience members who come to witness this very popular annual event.  Through hip hop, jazz, contemporary, ballet, tap dance, and Middle Eastern dance, this year’s event promises to be dazzling!

“The Spring Dance Festival provides a strong platform for the voices of the next generation” says Eryn Schon-Brunner, director of this year’s production.   “In this time of social and political change, young people need to be able to express their thoughts and feelings, honestly, and for many of our students, dance is the best way for them to do that.”  Dances such as The Predators Around Us, choreographed by student choreographer Oscar Montelongo Medina, speaks to fears related to imminent changes in immigration laws and No Longer Silent by student choreographer Tara Ford, which deals with sexual violence, are just two sober issues on the minds of young people today.  Other serious stories told through movement, include stories about addiction, bullying, relationships, and the power of women! Amelia Taylor, who dances with the Mendocino College Repertory Dance Company, presents a homage to recently deceased performing artists Prince, David Bowie, Gene Wilder and Carrie Fisher in her dance, F.A.M.E. 

Not all of the performance pieces in this year’s show are serious.  The beauties we find in nature, such as fireflies and hummingbirds, have inspired dances choreographed by students Hannah Forbes, who is the reigning Miss Mendocino and McKensie Brown respectively. On a lighter note still, college dance and theatre major Ayla Decaire hopes to trigger some laughter in her dance, Artsy Fartsy, which is the story of an artist attempting to wrangle the countless ideas in her mind to create a one-of-a-kind piece of art!  Dances choreographed by college dance instructors Kirsten Turner and Rachel Young, as well as Eryn Schon-Brunner, will also be presented with a special appearance by Middle Eastern dancers Juliana Castillo and Jessica May.

With mixed emotions, Schon-Brunner is proud to see several of the college’s dance and theatre students graduating this year.  “The Dance and Theatre Department congratulates and says goodbye to Ayla Decaire, Melany Katz, Will Schlosser, Amelia Taylor, and Kalli WalkinHawk. All of these students will be transferring to four-year institutions and will be majoring in dance or musical theatre.”   WalkinHawk will be attending San Francisco State University, Katz and Schlosser will be attending Cornish School of the Arts in Seattle, Washington, and Taylor will be transferring into a prestigious academic program through Dominican University and the Alonso King LINES Ballet Company where she will complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.  Ayla Decaire is still trying to decide where to go, she has been accepted to USC, Loyola Marymount, San Francisco State, and Long Beach State. Additionally, Dance Club scholarships will be awarded during the performances to Thomas Kenney and Claire Vargas and the Kayla Chesser Scholarship Awards will be presented to Jasmyn Haralson and Jocelyn Corpuz. 

The Spring Dance Festival is a family friendly event!  Tickets are $10 general, $5 for students/seniors and can be purchased at the door or in advance at the Mendocino College Bookstore, the Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah or online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2906190.  Tickets may also be ordered over the phone by calling 707.468.3079. A listing of college activities may be found online at www.mendocino.edu/the-arts/dance. 

For more information please contact Eryn Schon-Brunner, ebrunner@mendocino.edu, 707.468.3079.

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