Pacifico Dance Company Dazzles Cerritos
I don’t think in my near two decades of covering shows at the Performing Arts Center I have seen a show to surpass the spectacular Pacifico Dance Company
extravaganza on Saturday night for color, costumes, history and enthusiasm from both sides of the stage. Maybe the mighty Moiseyev of Russia stands up there with Pacifico but this is a group that locals should be very proud of in their incredibly textured and dazzlingly beautiful programs. To add further amazement is the fact that Pacifico is based here in Los Angeles
and draws much of their talent locally while recreating dance and folk traditions of Mexico
. This is not corny Mexican hat dance at Olvera street
show but a serious and stately recreation of sometimes century’s old traditions. Also the show lovingly mixes modern dance with folk traditions and with countless gorgeous costumes there is never a dull moment in the near two hours of performance.
concert was divided into six parts that reflected different regions and traditions of the mother country including a sextet of musicians who further enflamed the large crowd to shouts and copious whistles. As an aside, I was amused by the rather accurate bird whistles and recreated skyrockets that seemed to burst up in the concourse along with shouts of “Si Senor! during the Jalisco part of the program.
The initial segment was pure modern dance called “Mictlan” that was inspired by Aztec mythology expressing the cycles of life by dancers who were in aquamarine body suits. If you thought the show might be all in this vein it changed quickly enough in “Tropico y Calido Chiapas
” with the head rocking celebratory courtship dances by beautiful ladies in dresses so full of color you could hardly take it all in the ten minutes of the piece.
The first half closed with the long and spirited “Danzas y Chilenas Costenas” inspired by Oaxaco and Guererro with a mix of flamenco, African rhythms and folk music from northern Mexico
. The opening with dancing demons and a heavy tap dancing was dreamlike, bordering on scary.
The second half had much more, starting with the centuries old “La Danza de Quetzales” from Puebla with the men wearing huge pinwheel headdresses in tribute to the Quetzal bird from Indian mythology and the women in dresses that looked like it took a year to make. This was followed by “Zafra en Tamaulipas” giving a nod to the sugar cane harvest done in peasant attire which were inventive and beautiful. The musicians played Spanish influenced folk music from the Northeast of Mexico and the Cerritos
crowd roared in approval. I hate to say the best was last but most certainly the electricity surged in “Viva Jalisco” that might have been the most familiar but also the highest energy. The sextet gave way to a full mariachi ensemble and the cowboy costumes were changed even during the set. The finale with all the women in gorgeous dresses swirling and the hombres in full mariachi mufti made for a very memorable grand finale after the “baile de sombrero” that may be familiar to all in SoCal but to see a dozen couples on stage all doing it in crisp harmony was thrilling indeed. Si Senor! Indeed.