A showcase for cultural talent

A showcase for cultural talent

Rosa Ramirez

Winners from the Talent Show, Melina Adashefski and Marie Bourgeault, perform their Polynesian dance at the DHS theater, on June 3, hosted by the Latin Dance Team. Both Adashefski and Bourgeault won the competition and earned tickets to Knotts Berry Farm.

Julia Ruiz, Sports Editor

The Latin Dance Ensemble proudly hosted their first Cultural Talent Show on Fri., Jun. 3 in the DHS Theater.  A variety of dances were performed by six acts and from the hostesses themselves.

The Cultural Talent Show was organized with the intentions of celebrating various ethnicities through dance. Students and residents were welcome to showcase their talent by simply signing up for the show.

“I wanted to give all of Downey High a place where they can share their cultural dances and have fun,” director Ms. Fitzl said.

Doors opened at 6:45 PM, and the audience crowded into the hall decorated with colored tissue paper and a snack table selling drinks, candy, and raffle tickets.  The show began with the director, Ms. Fitzl, welcoming the friends and family present and explaining the way the show would proceed. Contestants would perform and then receive feedback from the judges: Ms. Piho, Mrs. Macomber, and Mr. Guerra.

As the last few people took their seats, Denise Godoy, a Latin Dance Ensemble member, took the stage as the night’s host. An African dance by the Latin Dance group was the opening performance. Although some dancers seemed anxious, the nerves quickly went away as the audience encouraged the dancers with cheers and loud applause. The strong energy of the music and the performers set the start to a night of entertainment.

The competition then began with the first contestants taking the stage. Junior Marie Bourgeault and Warren sophomore Melina Adashefski paired up for a Polynesian duo.  The tranquil music silenced the audience and they quietly appreciated the soft rhythm and movements, as it is not a dance frequently seen. Both of the girls received positive comments from the judges as their hands and facial expressions were complemented.

“[Performing] was really fun” Bourgeault said. “It was different [for me] because it was in an official auditorium with so much energy back stage. I really enjoyed it.”

A Latin-hip jam followed performed by Katherine Alvarado, Destiny Albarran, Cynthia Magalon, and Absoneth Magallon. When the girls took the stage, it seemed as if the nerves took the best of them, but with the crowd’s support, the girls managed to finish off with strong energy and bright smiles.

The duo of Emily Padilla and Marina Sourial, the Arabian Wonders, then took the stage with a belly-dance. The difficult routine with sharp movements enthralled the audience and they clapped along to the beat. The Arabian Wonders succeed in entertaining the crowd.

Melina Adashefski followed Padilla and Sourial, taking the stage once again, this time performing a Tahitian solo. The Tahitian consists of stronger hip movements all while gracefully controlling the arms. The audience and judges both greatly enjoyed the performance as they cheered Adashefski on and gave rave reviews.

The Latin Dance ensemble closed the first act with a Calypso. Upbeat music and bright costumes left the audience ready for the second act.

“We weren’t competing for a prize, we were just dancing because we love it,” ensemble member Francis Flores said. “Many people liked it and it makes me happy that people were happy.”

An energetic Samba by the Latin Dance ensemble opened the second act. Following them was Marie Bourgeault performing a Polynesian solo.  The crowd cheered at hearing the first beat of the music, recognizing it from Disney’s “Lilo and Stitch.” With the audience’s encouragement, Bourgeault finished off her performance with tranquility and poise.

The last contestants of the night took the stage. Philip-Blaine Adsit and Imelda Ikenasio created their own dance style—the Evoultion of American Dance. The routine consisted of a combination of various American dances from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” to the classic chicken dance. The audience was greatly entertained as they duo brought on laughs and memories.

A surprise appearance was then made by Ms. Fitzl, who performed a Flamenco-rap, a combination of the Spanish Flamenco, jazz, and hip-hop.  The Spanish teacher showcased her talent and love of dance through her pirouettes and technique. A Hip-hop/contemporary dance by the hosting ensemble followed, bringing an end to a night of laughs and entertainment while the judges made their final decision.

The time then came to announce the winners. Ms. Fitzl took the honor of presenting the night’s champions. Third place went to Melina Adashefski for her Tahitian solo. She was rewarded with a pair of tickets to Krikorian Theaters.  Adsit and Ikenasio took second place for their Evolution of Dance and won tickets to Soak City. A drumroll was then given as the first place title and Knotts Berry Farm tickets went to the duo of Melina Adashefski and Marie Bourgeault for their Polynesian performance.

In the end, the first Cultural Talent Show was a success as people greatly enjoyed their time and various styles of dance were performed. With the night’s success, Ms. Fitzl hopes on making the show an annual event.