General Info > News Releases > News Releases 2010-2011 > 2010-2011: Mendocino College’s 10th Annual Spring Dance Festival


MENDOCINO COLLEGE, 1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah, CA 95482

Contact:         Jim Mastin, Director of Public Information & Auxiliary Services
707.468.3078 voice



Mendocino College’s 10th Annual Spring Dance Festival:

Celebrating National Dance Week and Diversity in Dance


On the heels of sold out performances of the musical Cats, Mendocino College Dance Department and Dance Club present the 10th Annual Spring Dance Festival, a true celebration of the diversity of dance.  Contemporary, jazz, hip hop, ballet, Mexican Folkloric, Capoeira, Brazilian, Salsa Rueda, Middle Eastern, and more – just a handful of dance forms that will delight those who attend this event on Friday and Saturday, May 6 & 7 at 8:00 PM and Sunday, May 8 at 2:00 PM in the Mendocino College Center Theatre on the Ukiah Campus.


“The Mendocino College Spring Dance Festival has grown and become a celebrated tradition in our community,” reports Leslie Saxon West, Professor of Dance at Mendocino College.  “This dance event celebrates a form of art that goes beyond boundaries, uniting people from every walk of life all over the world.”

The dances that will be presented at the festival represent the variety of dance classes that are offered at Mendocino College.  One of these is Capoeira, a form of movement that combines music, martial arts and dance with roots in Africa and Brazil.  Capoeira students will be performing with the Brazilian Dance and Drum class, under the direction of instructors Mestre Amunka Davila and Erika Smallen.  The piece, entitled Amor, Tambor, Vida e Morte celebrates the 19th century Carnaval in Brazil with its festive dances, romances, dramas and at times tragedies.  

Cuban style Salsa Rueda has become very popular at the college recently, with Erika Smallen at the helm as instructor and choreographer of a dance called Somos Cubanos. The song and music are a joyous expression of Cuban cultural identity.  Smallen elaborates on her dance, “I wanted the piece to have some of the historical themes represented in the song.  For this purpose, I included some folkloric movement from rumba and Orisha dance into the Casino (Cuban style salsa) Rueda. 

Mexican Folkloric dance Instructor Juvenal Vasquez and his students will again be performing several dances in this year’s festival.  Included are El Saludo and El Zapateado, which are usually performed by the youth who imitate older people with humorous movements.  According to Vasquez, “The dancers are not making fun of the older people, they are honoring them. “

Many other forms of dance will also be presented.  Bernadette Alverio-Gray, popular jazz, contemporary/modern and hip hop instructor, has choreographed several dances with her classes.  Wasted, a contemporary social commentary represents an atmospheric realization of the waste and pollution we as a society cast upon nature and the environment.  Two hip hop dances, One Stop Smog Shop and The Tune Up, are fun and energetic and take place in a car garage!   Bernadette has danced in the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre summer and certificate programs and the acclaimed Bates Dance Festival. 

Middle Eastern dance instructor Janice Re has choreographed two pieces for this event.  One entitled Battle has a quiet section in the middle of the music which evokes a sense of sleepiness and dreaminess.  Some of the dancers engage in a moment of rest on the floor while others emerge as their dreamy visions cause them to spin about with white veils.  The other dance, entitled Unknown Hand, is very mechanical which inspires sharp body movements portraying the body as a machine.

Eddie Vedolla, Jr. presents “groovin’” Nightclub 2-Step, Cha Cha and Hustle to versions of  the song, Billie Jean.  Audience members will also be treated to a modern ballet choreographed by Kirsten Turner, entitled The Wind and the Sun, to the music of Phillip Glass,  Tis of Thee, a solo dance choreographed by Mercy Sidbury and performed by Miriam McNamara,

All tickets for the dance festival are $6 and may be purchased in advance at the Mendocino College Bookstore and the Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah.  Tickets may also be ordered in advance by calling 707-468-3079. Tickets may also be purchased at the door if available.

A listing of college activities is online at


Created: September 26, 2011 @ 03:20 PM
Last Modified: September 26, 2011 @ 03:20 PM


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