Many cultures one stage


The Latin Dance Ensemble performs for parents, friends, and family members in the theatre as Downey hosts its third annual Cultural Talent Show on Dec. 9. “We’re so excited to be here,” said Ms. Fitzl. “The girls have worked so hard all year.”

Marilyn Ramirez, Copy Editor/Co-Editor-in-Chief

The Latin Dance Ensemble presented Downey’s third annual Cultural Talent Show on Dec. 9 at 7:oo pm in the theatre. As contestants and ensemble members were behind stage running around frantically preparing their costumes and routines, family, friends, and faculty members waited excitedly outside. Once the doors opened at 6:45, they entered into a lobby filled with a variety of foods and beverages, and a table offering Majesty Entertainment products.

Audience members walked into a decorated theatre once Ms. Fitzl made her introductions. Teachers Andra Macomber, Bonnie Roybal, and Johnathan Lara judged the contestants by performance, creativity, and organization. Between the dancing and singing of the seven contestants, the Latin Dance Ensemble performed a range of dances choreographed by Fitzl, Lara, and Samuel Hinojosa.

The show was off to a strong start with an upbeat hip-hop routine performed by the ensemble to “En sus marcas” (On Your Marks). Although they were nervous in the beginning, the team was quickly smiling and enjoying the rhythm of the music. The audience applauded the dancers as the show’s first contestant, senior Marie Bourgeault, entered with a Hawaiian outfit ready to perform “Wahine Does the Poi.” She used her poi balls artfully and skillfully, receiving high marks from the judges who praised her confidence and eye contact.

Next up on stage was Meagan Rodriguez, dressed in a purple glittered top who danced a hip-hop routine to “Fuego.” She finished with a strong pose, adding to the judges’ remarks on her overall performance.

After the ensemble performed another crowd-delighting routine, Brenda Alvizures walked on stage in an elegant black gown, ready to sing “Hero.” Her voice received an approving appraisal from the audience, and even more from the judges.

“‘Hero’ is a really good song choice,” Lara said. “I’m going through tough times of my own and your voice really conveyed what the song was about. Well done.”

Following Alvizures was a salsa infused with hip-hop routine performed by the Latin Dance Ensemble in black attire. The audience shouted with delight at the enthralling dancers as they carried out various turns and flips that led the show to a higher level of entertainment.

Freshman contestant Kirara Takahashi continued the trend, singing and rocking out to “Skater Boy.” Her enthusiasm was contagious, and the audience soon caught on to her fun personality, raising their fists to the music.

As the judges gave their final commentary, seniors Elizabeth Buck and Elsy Caceres began to dance with senior Jackelyn Saenz as she sang “Las bellas” (The Beauties). Their movements went fluidly with Saenz’s voice, which was forte, yet elegant.

“I was very excited but nervous,” Buck said. “But I had a good time, and I think we did very well.”

Changing up the previous Latin theme was Patrick Solis, singing and playing “Sunset Blues” with his guitar. The smooth, tranquil pace of the song pleased the crowd, and had many girls hollering at the end of his performance. He was praised for his ability to hold on to the high notes and his relaxing guitar skills.

Cecilia Godinez and Vanessa Lara were the final contestants of the evening, readily entering the stage with confident smiles. As the music began, Godinez and Lara danced to Latin Fusion, working with an assortment of rhythms and beats. The dynamic duo was swift and stepped readily to the music. Comments from the judges ranged from their well-played solos and stunning appearances.
The Latin Dance Ensemble performed what was supposed to be the final piece of the evening, the Indian-Cha Cha Explosion. They used traditional Indian clothing wear and cloths as props. Audience members applauded the dancers as they used the cloths while they danced in perfect rhythm to the music. Fitzl entered with a surprise performance, the crowd entranced by her professional dance skills. Both and the team’s and her performance got the crowd on their feet, filling the theatre with clapping and enjoyment.

Once the audience finally settled down, Fitzl received the final scores from the judges to determine the show’s winners. In third place came Vanessa Lara and Cecilia Godinez, receiving two tickets to the Downey Krikorian. In second place was the serene performance of Patrick Solis, who was given two tickets to The Aquarium of the Pacific. Finally, winning two tickets to Six Flags: Magic Mountain was Marie Bourgeault, with her Poi ball performance.