By: Daisy Solis
Anyone who knows me well knows that anything to do with the arts, specifically DANCE, truly feeds and soothes my soul. There is no better form of expression than to completely abandon oneself to music and through choreography paint a masterpiece upon the blank canvas that is the hardwood. Imagine the kaleidoscope of fulfillment that my soul received upon experiencing the latest edition of “The Floor Show!”
The Floor Show is presented by The Floor Productions and Goldenvoice and created by dancers Carolina Cerisola and Sascha Escandon. The Floor Show featured an 8-piece band, 45 talented artists covering 19 genres of music and dance at a gorgeous venue worthy of such a unique production, the historic El Rey Theatre.
The layout was ideal: 3 separate stages in addition to the main one which held the band, with tables surrounding them so as to enhance each of these evening’s numbers, which by the way, at times simultaneously covered all 4 stages!
The anticipation building up this night’s event was burst by the Club Bullies who performed a little rap intro as to what was in store for us this evening followed by a blast-to-the-past Doo-Wop number coming from the rear mezzanine area by the Dukes of Doo-Wop. Suddenly we were put into a trance by a whimsical performance given by the gifted hands of harpist Andrea Brook who played the Sonic Butterfly Harp, a 26-string instrument whose resonating chambers were located on stage above the musicians and stretched over the main space and anchored on to the opposite side. It felt almost celestial just listening to it and feeling the vibrations embodying the echo of every strand.
Our “spell” was broken by the quick sounds of tap, compliments of the “happy feet” of dancers Sarah Reich and Anissa Lee who would’ve made the late Gregory Hines extremely proud! Being a fan of all things vintage, I truly appreciated the next performance, a sultry yet upbeat Cabaret number emulating the era of the 1930s and Old Hollywood glam by songstress Lyndsay Haldorson, looking every bit like Golden Era vixen Veronica Lake. Lyndsay was accompanied by Gatsby-esque Cabaret dancers Linda Garisto, Jillian Schmitz, Nikki Dalonzo, and Tarin Pratt. The girls were simply delightful and I can assure you that Bob Fosse was beaming down on them! This performance was one of my favorites and seriously transported me to a different era. You just could not help but allow yourselves to be enveloped in that post-Prohibition speakeasy vibe! Before it slips my mind, I must mentions that these lovely dancers also delivered a beautiful burlesque-inspired feather fan act that was speakeasy worthy!
Argentina took center stage with its signature Tango in a performance by a talented duo composed of Carlos Barrionuevo and Mayte Valdez of the world renowned, Forever Tango and Tango Passion.
From Argentina we were transported to Spain with a unique Flamenco number by a trio comprised of dancers Manuel Gutierrez Caballo, Fanny Ara and Mizuho Sato whose scintillating choreography came alive with the gypsy-esque music of Jose Cortez (vocals) and Andres Vadim (guitar) who caused the temperature not only of the center stage to rise, but that of the entire theatre!
From the mezzanine above, Mexico was proudly represented as the angelic voices of Grammy nominated Trio Ellas enchanted us with their beautiful and unique fusion of mariachi, bolero, and gypsy jazz.
It was a harmonious medley of performances where the music and dance numbers never stopped! They seamlessly transitioned from one exhilarating performance to the next! A haunting contemporary dance piece was beautifully performed by Janice Danovan and Gabriella Cataldo from the center stage, followed by a vocal performance by spoken word artist Charles E. Schmidt from the main stage as the ever so incredibly flexible Lamonte “Tales” Goode performed a “Cyber Yoga” piece that fused hip-hop, break dancing and yoga moves.
The high notes of opera resonated in the theatre as the powerful voice of tenor Carlo De Antonis who looked every bit like Venetian royalty in his velvet cape and feathered Carnival-style mask commanded our attention as a fusion of hip-hop and pop-locking was performed by Ricardo “Boogie Frantick” Rodriguez who was complimented by the Afro-Cuban Rumba moves and contortion of Cuban-born dancer Nayara Nuñez captivated the audience.
The variety in dance genres continued with a more classical style. Ballet dancers Eric Shah and Jean Michelle Sayeg performed a delicate and complex choreography where they seemed to be floating upon the stage. A beautiful story was being told before our very eyes. This poetic performance was followed by an energetic and rhythmic Indian dance and vocal number by charismatic singer Charenjeet “CJ” Virdi and the spectacular Bollywood dance moves of Yoda Jones, whose arms and hands were a breathtaking wonder to behold! By the way, Yoda’s mom was sitting right next to me and made a point of telling me that was her baby up on that stage!
In a sea of dance styles we could not leave out the genre that Carolina and Sascha became known for, Salsa! The sister duo of Cindy and Stephanie Stevenson, aka: the Stevenson Sisters, did their Chilean roots proud! Individually these two beauties have their own distinct flavor, but together, they are a force to be reckoned with! They delivered a dynamic powerhouse of a performance as soon as they took center stage in their gold fringe costumes that were shimmy appropriate! Their high-energy moves along with the music from the band really got the crowd going and with the urge to get a little quick-quick-slow going in the aisles themselves!
The band stopped and all we heard were drums and suddenly we were transported to Rio di Janeiro and all the splendor of Carnaval! The Floor Show just wouldn’t be The Floor Show without Brazil being represented! Closing the show off with the mystic moves of Capoeira were Alfred Kendrick and Phillipos Haile who were accompanied by the talented Quetzal Guerrero on violin and vocals along with Tizoc Guerrero and Kahlil Cummings on drums and berimbau. Imagine the Matrix, but with flavor and a whole lot of sexiness!
Of course a Brazilian showcase would not be complete without exotic and beautiful Samba dancers in full-on “Carnaval” feather headdresses and attire! Dancers Gisella Ferreira and Nicolea Pettis were the “Queens” of this evening’s “Carnaval!” The high-energy of their Samba got a hold of us all and did not let go as the girls moved from center stage, through the audience and on to the main stage.
This magical evening culminated as the Club Bullies joined the Samba dancers on the main stage along with the other performers who filled all 4 stages as well as the aisles and danced to the song, “This Is Why” by the Club Bullies.
And THIS is why The Floor Productions believes that the power of artistic expression through music and dance can change, empower and touch lives, all the while supporting local talent. I firmly believe that music and dance have the power to transport you to another place and time; to heal, inspire and uplift. In my humble opinion, it is the epitome of ALEGRIA. At least “my” ALEGRIA. Leave your worries behind and be one in the moment.
Live, laugh, love, DANCE! And 5, 6, 7, 8…