Long Beach dancers, Portland music and a Hollywood stage closed the show
Pink Martini music, theatrical jazz dancing and hipster-style costumes made the Cal State Long Beach dance department proud in the So Cal Dance Invitational last Friday.
Andy Vaca, the chair of the dance department, choreographed a lively dance piece he wrote was the perfect finale for a top-notch show.
Vaca filled the outdoor stage at the Ford Amphitheater in Hollywood with CSULB graduates, and three current students, who are all performers in Vaca’s dance company, Jazzworks-Long Beach.
According to Vaca, this Pink Martini-jazz creation was created to fit the various themes of some of the CSU general education categories. He said he was aiming for a dance that featured “a group of people going through life together.”
This dance was originally created for the 20th anniversary of the CSULB Dance Center, and was performed by all CSULB students in the 2014 spring semester show. For Friday’s show, however, Vaca re-created this piece and taught it to his Jazzworks performers.
Before the show, Vaca said he was excited to see his masterpiece take life at the Hollywood venue.
“The space is big, and open, and sometimes you see real live animals crawling around in the trees behind the dancers,” Vaca said, explaining the new life elements he said he hoped to see in his dancers.
Other dance companies at the show included Francisco Gella’s COLABO Youth Dance Collective, which is affiliated with the NUEVO School of Contemporary Dance in Chino, Ca. and the Invertigo Dance Theater, from Los Angeles.
The L.A. Contemporary Dance Company, based in Downtown Los Angeles, also made an appearance in the show, as well as the Lula Washington Dance Theatre, a 10-member modern dance company centered in South Los Angeles.
The Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre, which presented its first performance in 1986, was also among the performing companies, according the So Cal Dance Invitational website.
Each company performed one lengthy, ensemble piece, and the music and style of each ranged from interpretive, dramatic moments, to an entire dance that literally featured all women in tennis gear with rackets, dancing an incredibly heated tennis match.
Overall, the audience soaked in the music for approximately an hour and a half, and Vaca’s closing number was an exciting send off for any Long Beach audience members heading home