Behind the Scenes: Summer Solstice Practice
The Summer Solstice Parade comes to Santa Barbara only once a year. Out of all of the festivities that happen in Santa Barbara, this is my personal favorite. I love the Summer Solstice celebration because it embodies the free spirit nature that comes with summer. People from all over come to State Street just to celebrate the start of summer. Watching the parade is a magical experience. The performers are all dressed in whimsical costumes and the floats that march behind them, seem like they come straight out of a storybook. Watching the parade is an amazing experience, but being in the parade is an exciting experience like no other.
As I mentioned in an earlier article, I have the privilege to perform in this year’s Summer Solstice. I am dancing with a team that is lead by Panzumo. Panzumo Rhythm, Song, and Dance Company was started in 1998 by Budhi Harlow, to bring Djembe drum and dance to the people of Santa Barbara. Both leaders of the organization, Budi Harlow (Creative Director and Founder) and Lisa Beck (the Artistic Director and Choreographer) teach drum and dance classes as well as perform. Together they are leading our troupe in preparing for the Summer Solstice parade. Budhi is leading a team of drummers to help us dance to two Bollywood numbers and one West African piece. It is amazing to see both forms of art come together to create a spectacular performance.
I was able to capture a few moments of our practice over the past couple weeks. At first everything seems overwhelming, but because I have previous experience preparing for the parade, I know that we will all master the music and choreography. Everyone’s cheerful mood and determination encourages me week after week to work hard. With Summer Solstice only a month away it is time to turn up the heat and really concentrate on nailing the moves. After the eight weeks of practice, each one of us will be able to perform all three of the dances in our sleep. So enjoy the sneak peak and be sure to come to the final performance on June 21st.
Photo credit: www.filmtribe.org