Twists, twirls, tango and tap. Sixty Bay Area dance organizations performed dance routines at the sjDANCEco Festival at Santana Row last Sunday. 

All day, the outdoor stage was consistently surrounded with dancers, families and other San Jose community members in attendance to watch performances from both professional and amateur dancers. 

“For our mission, we are all about bringing dance to the community and really showcasing the variety of dance that exists within the community,” Administrative Director Chloe Crotzer said. 

The event celebrated National Dance Week and kicked off sjDANCEco’s 16th Season.

The professional dance portion of the event was from noon to 1:30 p.m. The celebration showcased the diversity of the Bay Area dance community. 

The Festival and sjDANCEco originally began the same year, in 2003, when co-founders Gary Masters, the company’s artistic director, and Melanie Doerner decided they wanted to help bring dance to the community. 

The different performances included various dance styles such as jazz, ballet, tap, swing, belly dance, folk and hip-hop. 

In sync with the dance styles, the music varied just as much as the performances. 

Many of the routines included pop and other well known music during the dances. 

Most dance groups wore outfits that popped and enhanced their performances. Some groups wore loud, vibrant leotards while other performers wore solid black or white outfits.

The event was free to the public and tickets were not necessary to attend.

According to sjDANCEco board member Cindy Brain, over 5,000 people stopped and watched the event over the course of the day. 

“At one point we had volunteers keep the walkways open because this was the path the dancers had to go to queue-up,” Brain said. 

Even during the final hour of the event, there were over five rows of people at all sides of the stage. 

“I came to the mall to buy some gifts for a friend, but I stayed to watch the dancers,” San Jose resident Shira Mack said. 

Different groups from all over the Bay Area performed one after another, with one group going on stage immediately after the group before them finished their routine. 

“The dancers were incredible. Some of them looked like they should be on broadway,” Mack said.  

The dancers varied in ages, with some younger than 10 years old and others older than 50. 

“My favorite performance was the little girls that were holding balloons and wearing black leotards,” Milpitas resident Jessica Chang said. “They were so cute but so professional and clearly practiced a ton. They impressed me the most.”

 

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