Student dance show inspires

Student+choreographers%2C+left+to+right%3A+Lanea+Florence%2C+Sandra+Ruano+Larios%2C+Laura+Becker%2C+Joanna+Pablo%2C+Emily+Tuck+%28leaning%29%2C+Scott+McMahan%2C+Cassie+Tsolis%2C+Jazmin+Chanure+%28floor%29%2C+Oshanna+Kealoha%2C+Rachel+Seche%2C+Cristal+Chavez+%28floor%29+and+Danaite+Gebremeskel.

Megan Rhodes/ SRJC Dance

Student choreographers, left to right: Lanea Florence, Sandra Ruano Larios, Laura Becker, Joanna Pablo, Emily Tuck (leaning), Scott McMahan, Cassie Tsolis, Jazmin Chanure (floor), Oshanna Kealoha, Rachel Seche, Cristal Chavez (floor) and Danaite Gebremeskel.

Craig Gettman, Staff Writer

Forget “Dancing With the Stars” or “So You Think You Can Dance?” The Santa Rosa Junior College dance show is the event to see.

Every spring, the SRJC dance department puts on an end-of-the-semester show. Comprised almost entirely of student-choreographed dance performances, the show features members of the program who have taken classes in any of the style-focused courses available at SRJC.

The show takes place May 8-10, with performances on Friday and Saturday evening, as well as Sunday afternoon.

This year the theme was “Storylines,” with short vignettes meant to tell a literal or abstract story through the art of dance.

This theme worked well, as each of the segments had its own, unique flair. With 18 segments in all, the styles alternated between contemporary, ballet, and jazz, with hip-hop included to liven things up.

While all of the dancers were talented and each of the segments was interesting, there were standouts.

The aforementioned hip-hop segment was entertaining and thought-provoking, as it portrayed bullying, but showed the characters changing to be more tolerant of each other. This part featured music by Black Eyed Peas and choreography by students Jazmin Chanure and Cassie Tsolis.

Another standout was the western-themed segment, which included humorous bits such as when the dancers grouped like prairie dogs. Near the end, a dancer  rolled offstage like a tumbleweed. This part featured music by Charles Bernstein and Gianni Ferrio with choreography by guest artists Tanya Tolmasoff and Kate Vazzoler of Sonoma County based UPside Dance Company.

A third standout featured the story of Pandora’s Box, including dancers who were the “evils,” as the program credited them. This segment included music by Modeste Moussorgsky and choreography by student Rachel Seche.

Dancers who stood out included Oshanna Kealoha, who appeared as a silver-clad entity in a segment titled “Eternal Return,” which she choreographed.  Kenzy Hansen appeared in several pieces but always embodied her character well.

Rachel Seche, choreographer/dancer both danced and acted well, especially in the western-themed segment. Finally, Carmen Mitchell gave the audience a taste of well-done, classical ballet in the segment “Bee Aware,” in which she starred as the Queen; seeing her dance was like watching a professional work.

The show featured talented dancers throughout and each of the segments was enjoyable. However, it was the finale that stood out above all. This piece was entertaining, lively, inspiring and told a great story.