FAIRFIELD — A longtime Solano Community College tradition continues this weekend with a new director at the helm of a program that showcases the school’s diversity.
Instructor Ginger Cain has stepped up to continue the annual college dance production started by physical education instructor Esther Pryor decades ago. At the same time, Cain is realizing a longtime dream of bringing together a variety of dance styles.
Her student dancers will showcase everything from hip-hop to West African dance. Guest artists will perform hula, ballet and Mexican folkloric.
“There’s so much culture and history here,” Cain said.
This is her 14th year teaching at the college.
Rehearsals started in August 2013, when the semester began. Practices continued three days a week, for three to four hours, each time.
Kemberlee Jones, a Suisun City resident and student, put a lot of sweat into preparing for the show. She learned new dances, gained skills and noticed a physical transformation since she started dancing with Cain three years ago, she said.
Her back has improved along with her blood pressure. She lost 30 pounds.
“It’s a lot of work,” Jones said of preparing for the show, her first at the college.
It also marks the first time she’s explored West African dance, which she has grown to love, she said. The number she dances focuses on calling the villagers to the harvest.
Mischwa Murphy-McAdams of Kucheza Ngoma II Dance Company in Brentwood traveled to the college in March to work with the students on their skills. She specializes in traditional West African dance, Cain said.
“It’s more of a release for me,” Jones said of dance. “You can’t be in a bad mood when you’re dancing.”
Gene Buban of Vallejo has spent most of his dance years doing hip-hop. Being in Cain’s dance classes has opened a new world.
“It’s like learning a new language,” he said. “It’s been an interesting journey.”
Break dancing is his passion.
He’s in the process of completing his studies at the college, where he’s focused on computer science. His studies use the left side of his brain, he said.
“This is my right brain activity,” he said.
Lanz Amoroso is also enjoying the West African dance. While he likes contemporary dance, learning other styles is good experience, he said.
The Fairfield resident is studying to become a psychologist. He also finds release in the art form.
“I can express myself through dance,” he said.
Kim Gonzales arrived in Fairfield 13 years ago from the Philippines. She was a choreographer there for a crew of hip-hop dancers. The mother of two preschool-age children, Gonzales said she makes sure she has time to fit dance into her life, which also includes her early childhood education studies and work.
“I love dancing,” she said. “Sometimes it’s hard to do it all with work, school and family. But I’m still here.”
Cain said she’s working hard to keep the dance program strong at the college and hopes to bring on some adjunct faculty. She’s involved other students in the program, reaching out to a speech major to serve as the show’s master of ceremonies and an art major to create a poster for the event.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.