Mendocino College Announces the 2019 Spring Dance Festival: Sensations!

April 23, 2019


Every spring, for the past sixteen years, the Mendocino College Spring Dance Festival has provided entertainment for the entire family. This year is no exception! Mendocino College dancers and local guest performers will take to the Mendocino College Center Theatre stage on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, May 2, 3, and 4 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, May 5 at 2:00 pm to share what they have to say, through movement. Dance styles such as hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, ballet, and Middle Eastern dance will be performed.

Illuminating the stage with their passions, concerns, and ideas, Mendocino College student chorographers Jasmine Byerley, Clara Carstensen, Yves Charles, Rickie Emilie Farah, Traci Hunt, Oscar Montelongo Medina, Carolina Torres, Ari Sunbeam, and Megan Youell will share their original works.

Jasmine Byerley speaks about her riveting duet Solitude, which she performs with Oscar Montelongo Medina: “Anxiety, failure, pride, fear—what if we did not have to face our demons alone? This piece contemplates the isolation that comes from the fear of admitting the need for help.” Choreographer Carolina Torres explores the subtle struggles of living with a mother who suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in a power solo titled, Part of Me.

In contrast, Clara Carstensen’s dance 21, 13, 8, 5, 3, 2, 1, 1 melds her love of life with her interest in science. “The name of the dance comes from the Fibonacci sequence, which is shown in the dancers’ steps and which represents the processes of how people accomplish their goals in life,” Carstensen says. 

Rickie Farah, who will be graduating with an AA from Mendocino College this spring and attending school in Southern California to complete her BFA in Theater, debuts her first piece of choreography this spring, Aferrándonos. Farah’s title reflects the passion she puts into her work: “Afferrándos means to hang on or hold on to each other,” she says, “and in this case, it is about the struggles of holding on to one another in a world full of diversions pulling one in different directions.”

First time choreographer Megan Youell brings her creative imagination to a group of nine dancers in her dynamic work When We Break. Youell says, “When We Break imagines people made of glass, who break under the stress brought on by anxiety.”

Veteran choreographers Traci Hunt, Yves Charles, Ari Sunbeam, and Oscar Montelongo Medina will also present new works that explore themes such as magnetism, the surrealism of scrawling text, the humor behind swimming with sharks, and what happens when someone continually asks you, “how are you doing?”

Dances choreographed by college dance instructors Rachel Young and Eryn Schon-Brunner will also be presented, with special appearances by Middle-Eastern dancer Juliana Castillo and Mendocino Ballet Company. Mendocino Ballet will share original works by Trudy McCreaner and Piper Faulk, as well as a restaging of Ivanov and Petipa’s Swan Lake Pas de Deux, with Yves Charles (Mendocino College Dance) and Hannah Woolfenden (Mendocino Ballet Company).

Mendocino College singers and musicians will share the stage with the dancers, and the Mendocino College Art Gallery, featuring student art works, will be open before the show and during intermission. It will be a multimedia event.

Additionally, Dance Club scholarships will be awarded during the evening to Traci Hunt and Jasmine Byerley, and the Kayla Grace Chesser Scholarship Awards will be presented to Rickie Farah and Margarita Diaz. 

The Spring Dance Festival is a family-friendly event!  Tickets are $10 for everyone and can be purchased at the door or in advance at the Mendocino College Bookstore, the Mendocino Book Company, in Ukiah or online. Tickets may also be ordered over the phone by calling 707-468-3079. The Mendocino College Center Theatre is located at 1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah.