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“Dreams” All abilities adaptive dance presentation

  • Rancho Cotati Alumni Allison Coon and Garitt Vondrak gave a stellar dance performance during "The Movement Lab" presentation of "Dreams" at Spreckels Performing Arts Center last Wed. night and Sat. afternoon. Keep an eye out, "The Movement Lab" will be back with more performances in June 2019. Photo by Robert Grant

By: Janet and Lanny Lowery
January 11, 2019

During the first week of the New Year, The Movement LAB presented “Dreams” at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center. This ambitious project included twenty-two different dances with dancers from the age of three to men and women well beyond the age of seventy. This community based dance included ballet, jazz, hip-hop, modern dancing, break dancing and performers with special needs.

Artistic director, teacher and choreographer Bernadette Alverio-Tonks emphatically stated her guiding philosophy: “The dance is for every ‘body!’” And, certainly, everyone had his and her opportunity to participate.

The dream theme threaded the show from beginning to end starting with a company production of “Alice’s Dream.” Mad Hatters, rabbits, many Alices, cards and an angry queen took the audience through the rabbit’s hole. Succeeded by “Dreamers Love,” young ladies moved through a modern dance number. “Heal the Earth” offered teen jazz and transitioned to the sky with a lovely number called “Beetlejuice.” Led by two experienced dancers, six girls used the old hit “The Lion Sleeps” to make a creative interpretation.

Through jazz, hip-hop and break dancing, the performers explored the darker side of dreams. With the audience abuzz, intermission broke the imaginative line.

One of the high movements followed intermission as the SN Dance brought back the brighter aspects of dreams. Rancho Cotate alumni Garitt Vondrak and Allison Coon projected their well-known ebullience as they moved smoothly with fellow dancers.

More ballet, hip-hop, modern teen and adult jazz led up to the very touching “A Wish Your Heart Makes” performed by the Kinder Ballet. And once again Alice in Wonderland characters reminded the audience of the dream quality of the show as the company production brought all on the stage for the colorful closing.

Members of the audience expressed excitement throughout the evening participating with the enthusiasm of parents at a sporting event chanting cheering for their special dancers. At each production, Artistic Director Alverio-Tonks encouraged the audience to participate in this manner.

This wonderful presentation proved the motto endorsed by Alverio-Tonks and her talented faculty: “At The Movement Lab we believe in following your heart and pursuing your passion.” The guiding philosophy of the dance studio translated to the Spreckels’ production as all in the theater experienced it: “You can expect a warm and friendly environment where everyone is treated with respect.” The entire show, and especially the finale, “Painting the Roses Red,” reminded all that dance is, indeed, for every “body.”