February 22, 2018
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Legends and icons dance performance at Spreckels

  • The Movement Lab's show this year at Spreckels Performing Arts Center is titled "Legends & Icons." Pictured here is a group known throughout the Bay Area as "Extraordinary Dance Company," which is an adult Hip Hop company for adults with special needs. Robert Grant

By: Stephanie Derammelaere
January 19, 2018

This weekend The Movement Lab, a Santa Rosa-based dance studio, will be presenting a dance show entitled “Legends & Icons,” honoring nostalgic music and dance genres. The community-oriented show held at Spreckels Performing Arts Center and open to the public, runs from Jan. 18 to 21, with three different program possibilities. Each program features a collection of different dances, including Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet, Modern and more. Breaking it down into three programs assures all 300 performers have a chance to perform, while keeping the show to a manageable timeframe.

“The theme this year is legends and icons in music,” says Bernadette Alverio, Owner and Artistic Director of the Movement Lab. “So it’s pretty fun and nostalgic. I have five dance companies and the companies collaborate and create a really fun opening number and closing number. This show the opening number celebrates Rock N’ Roll and the closing number celebrates Motown.”

Some of the numbers, the opening and closing among them, feature both children and adults, as well as many of the special needs students that The Movement Lab teaches. The dancers range in age from three years old through senior citizens. 

“Each show has a little bit of everything,” says Alverio. “Every show has a balanced mix of little kids to adults and I have a special needs group in every show. I don’t separate by age or ability. We all come together. So, in each show there is something for everybody.”

This past fall The Movement Lab started a new family style hip hop class, where parents, or grandparents, can dance with their children. This class will also be featured in the show. 

“I love dance and I love bringing people together through movement,” says Alverio. “Dance is therapeutic and spiritual and uplifting and it’s very community oriented. I think our shows demonstrate that.”

Because so far her classes for special needs dancers has focused on adults, she will be hosting an all abilities, adaptive dance workshop for children in February and March. The classes, split by age for 4 to 8-year-olds and 9 to 15-year-olds, is geared toward children with physical and developmental special needs.

“We’re looking to expand and have younger kids’ classes with special needs,” says Alverio. “We’re going to try it out with the workshop. There really aren’t any movement classes for younger kids with disabilities so I’m trying to offer something. We’re trying it out and seeing what the community needs.”

The Movement Lab produces two annual studio performances per year – this one at the end of the winter semester and one in June at the end of the spring semester. Both are held at Spreckels. In addition, Alverio started the North Bay Dance Festival 12 years ago, which features an annual performance every November of many local dance groups. She still directs and sponsors the show every year.

“It’s open to the public, and it’s all styles,” says Alverio. “There are belly dancers, and Latin dancing, ballroom, hip hop, jazz. The idea is to get all the different genres together and share one stage. Last year we had some Vietnamese dragon dancers, so it’s pretty cool. My school usually just presents one piece but it’s about the community for that show, and it’s always here at Spreckels.”

For those interested in attending one of the shows this weekend, performances are every evening at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door up to an hour prior to show time.