by Tai Moses
Thursday, April 27, 2000
Around the country, dancers are tightening their tutus, hiking up their hula skirts, fastening their flamenco boots and mixing their metaphors. National Dance Week, which has been in high gear since last Friday, ends officially on Sunday. As it happens, Saturday is the day of reckoning for Monterey Bay Area dance lovers, who will be forced to make some difficult decisions as to how to spend the evening.
On Saturday, the Tarek Omar and Rajab Juma Ensemble presents a dynamic evening of Middle Eastern dance and music. These Salt Lake City-based artists perform modern and traditional Arabic music. Dancers are encouraged to come in costume, and audience members are welcome on the dance floor. The show starts at 8pm at Carleton Hall, 400 Franklin St. in Monterey. Admission is $10.
Also on Saturday and also from Utah (but there the resemblance ends) is The Dancers' Company, which hails from Brigham Young University. This is the Salinas Concert Society's last hurrah for the season, and it promises to be lively. This 14-member contemporary dance company has a diverse repertoire that includes classical, abstract, jazz and even humorous works, proving that modern dance isn't always so serious. That's 7:30pm at Hartnell College.
The most multifarious dance event takes place a short trek up the coast in Santa Cruz, where dance week organizers have prepared a veritable performance marathon. Seventeen different groups, with styles from Brazilian, flamenco and African to Polynesian, salsa, ballet and hip-hop, will perform for 15 minutes each. The performances are spaced 10 minutes apart--probably so audience members can catch their breath. At 9pm, the steel drum band Pankind takes the stage to give the whole crew and all the spectators a chance to dance, in the style of their choosing. Hey, dance is nothing if not democratic. The event--of course it's on Saturday--starts at 2pm at Louden Nelson Auditorium, 301 Center St., Santa Cruz. All-day tickets are $6. For more information, call 476-7886.
Artists with Class
The Cultural Council for Monterey County is accepting applications from visual and performing artists who can design and teach creative hands-on projects to schoolchildren grades K-8. Proposals for the Professional Artists in the Schools program are invited in the areas of music, drama, dance, ceramics, painting and creative writing. Interested professional artists are encouraged to apply, and procrastination is frowned upon.
"I look for artists only once a year, so this is it," says arts education coordinator Kathy Littles. For more information and an application, call the Cultural Council at 622-9060 or visit the Web site at www.culturalmonterey.org. The deadline for applications is May 22.
Monday was the big man's 436th birthday, and by "big man" we don't mean David Letterman. Despite rumors of declining cultural relevance and the threat of historical decrepitude, William Shakespeare is as popular as ever--no thanks to the Oscar-winner Shakespeare In Love, which made the big man look as cuddly as a Backstreet Boy.
Shakespeare died on his birthday, which not only imbues his myth with resonance, it helps tie civic celebrations of his life and work up into one tidy package. That said, Shakespeare fetes were nowhere to be found, and Bard fans were left destitute, alone on the couch with a pizza and a dog-eared copy of Othello. Did we miss something?
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