El Centro— Dance students showcased their accomplishments at Ooh La La Dance & Studios recital Thursday evening at the Jimmie Cannon Performing Arts Theatre at Southwest High School.
It was an evening filled with ballet, jazz, hip-hop and combination dance routines synchronized to upbeat current tunes, modernized classical music, and movie themes merged with a visual extravaganza of backgrounds that kept the audience enthralled and moved.
Performers wore costumes designed visually to enhance the musical numbers and dance interpretations. They ran, leaped, jumped, and cast their arms in the air; they swayed, twirled, rolled or simply sat motionless on the stage.
One of the dancers, Joselyn Velez, 12, said of her performance, “It was really fun. I’m used to it.” Velez had been a dance student at Ooh La La since 2009. She initially took ballet lessons and later got interested in jazz. However, she prefers a lyrical combination of both disciplines.
Eva Velez, commented on her daughter’s performance. “It’s a wonderful experience. I enjoy seeing her out there, just being free.”
Eva Velez, who had participated in Folklorico dances when she was in elementary school, said: “This dance studio gives so much to the community and to the children.” She said her daughter looked forward to participating and performing in front of the audience.
Another dance student was Samara Aguilar, 13. She commented of her recital, “I think I did good.”
Samara took ballet lessons when she was four-years-old but stopped. Many years later she began to show interest again. In August of last year, Aguilar returned to the dance floor at the studio in Brawley.
Her mother, Claudia Estrada, said of her daughter’s performance. “It is a great privilege to see my daughter dance in front of a lot of people. It made me happy.”
Lisa Smelser, owner and director of Ooh La La Dance & Studios on Main Street, in Brawley, said a total of 250 dance students performed during the two-day, recital. The first day, 175 students performed; and some of them also performed the following day.
The theater was practically full, leaving only a handful of empty seats. Parents, siblings, uncles, grandparents, and friends cheered, and more, when they recognized the dancers.
At the conclusion of the evening’s recital, all performers returned to the stage in groups for final bows before an appreciative audience. The nine dance instructors joined their students on center stage. On cue, selected students bore bouquets of flowers for each of the dance instructors in appreciation of the hours spent instructing and teaching the finesse and art of movement to many styles of music.
Smelser said, “It was a great show. It was a fun and a fully packed one-and-a-half hours of non-stop fun and excitement. We had a great turnout of audience members. It was a great 13th year.”