Twenty-something black silhouettes began to grind and twirl to “La Calle Linda” by Pirulo y La Tribu in front of a red-lit backdrop. They wore orange, red and beige ’70s-inspired high-waisted flare pants and crop tops as they moved perfectly in sync with one another, grooving to the bass of salsa.
Performed in Alumnae Hall on Friday and Saturday night, Latin dance troupe Mezcla’s 2019 Spring Showcase, titled “24K Gold,” was full of breathtaking moments with stunning lights, clever costuming and dancers enthusiastically intertwining Latin dance with concepts from different cultures and eras.
The show featured a diverse set of ensembles — ranging from a contemporary, edgy performance set to Reggaeton to a more classical number in which members balanced candles on their heads, dressed with inspiration from Veracuz, Mexico. The distinctness of each performance was intentional, designed to highlight the unique styles and thematic intentions of each individual choreographer, said Leonardo Tamez ’21, a Mezcla dancer who joined the organization two years ago. “There were so many variations and differences within the pieces, but the one commonality is the love and passion that goes onto the performance of each dance,” he said. “Every dancer on that stage shares a love for Latinx culture and a passion to perform and share this piece of us with the world.”
Audience members also enjoyed a collaboration between Mezcla and Badmaash, Brown’s South Asian fusion dance team. Dancers donned leggings, sports bras and workout gear as they jammed to hits from both South Asian and Latin culture. Taking place in a fictional Nelson Center, joint numbers were set to “Push It to the Limit” by Corbin Bleu, “Chamma Chamma” from Bollywood hit “Fraud Saiyaan” and “Chantaje” by Shakira.
Midway through the evening performance, Mezcla dancer Alexis Roman ’21 led the audience through a brief, energetic Zumba workout.
Rife with complex lighting sequences and multiple speedy costume changes, perfecting the show required weeks of long tech rehearsals, which ran from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. most nights, said Stage Manager Julissa Garcia ’22.
“It was a lot of work, [and] everyone contributed tremendously to putting on the show,” said Garcia. “Communication was honestly everything, from communicating for lights, to costume changes, to saying ‘Mango’ (to signal when) dancers were ready to go on.”
But the hard work paid off — for audience members like Meghna Tummala ’21, the show was simply amazing.
“The show was so good. I wish I could move my hips like that,” Tummala said. “I also loved the Zumba intermission. I felt like everyone in the audience was really engaging with one another.”
Dances incorporated the celebration of Mezcla’s Latin roots. In one piece, members held up flags from Mexico and the Dominican Republic, waving them as they danced from one side of the stage to the other. “Dominican Republic Through the Ages,” choreographed by Jorge Sanchez Gargia ’20 and Bryan Olivo ’20, paid homage to the history of baseball in the Dominican Republic through a beautifully executed tribute.
“For me, paying homage to my Latin culture is something incredibly important because you don’t see 20-plus Latin bodies sharing a stage very often,” Tamez said. “This is why this show is incredibly important. It’s giving representation to a group of people who hold important traditions and who come from all over the place to share a little part of their culture with the community.”
Clarification: An earlier version of this article described “a more classical number in which members in Victorian-style dresses balanced candles on their heads.” In fact, that piece is from Veracruz, Mexico, so it is more accurate to state that “members balanced candles on their heads, dressed with inspiration from Veracuz, Mexico.” The Herald regrets the error.