MEZCLA premieres ‘La Mezcla Tropical’

Friday, November 21, 2008

Brown’s Latino performance troupe MEZCLA premiered its Fall 2008 show “La Mezcla Tropical” last night to a nearly full Salomon 101. The spectacle reflected MEZCLA’s goal of communicating “the diversity and richness of Latino culture to the greater Brown community,” as stated in the show’s program. To that end, even the brief introductions from MEZCLA’s leaders incorporated English, Spanish and Portuguese.

The show included several dance pieces and an instrumental piece choreographed and performed by MEZCLA members. A “Dancing with the Stars”-like segment called “Dancing with MEZCLA” featured three volunteer contestants – Brown students not affiliated with the group who showed off freshly learned Latin dance moves they had practiced during the show’s rehearsal process.

A dance featuring the “MEZCLA Men” – all wearing top hats – opened the show. They were followed by “Onde Estas,” a piece choreographed by Sofia Bengoa ‘08.5, which synthesized movement with live singing and guitar.

Brown Badmaash, a South Asian fusion dance company, performed “Club Badmaash,” a routine set to songs like Rihanna’s “Disturbia” and T-Pain’s “Apple Bottom Jeans.”

The nine members of Los Masones Latin Jazz Combo followed the intermission with the musical act “No Es Necesario.” The group delivered a funky performance dominated by brass and percussion.

MEZCLA President Grisselle Escotto ’09 choreographed “Sword Belly Dancing,” consisting of nine female MEZCLA members moving rhythmically in belly-dancing outfits with swords attached to the tops of their heads.

The show also featured a performance by the group Divine Rhythm, using synchronized stomping, clapping, snapping and other bodily movements as sound.

“Dancing with MEZCLA” contestants Sadie Kurzban ’12, Aadon Penny ’11 and Sharon Chakkalackal GS had the opportunity to “show what they’ve learned from MEZCLA members and the flavor they picked up,” as Publicity Director Yanely Espinal ’11 put it. Their routines, each consisting of the contestant coupled with a MEZCLA member, were scattered throughout the evening. Afterward, the three competitors gathered on stage for a popularity assessment based on volume of applause. Though the host made a show of deliberating over a close call, the loudest cheers were decidedly for Kurzban, who won the contest.

Participants in the show said the rehearsal and preparation process was long and challenging but rewarding. The best part was “looking at the show come together,” Espinal told The Herald. “The pressure was on, but it was all worth it.”

MEZCLA will repeat the performance Saturday night in Salomon 101.

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