Santa Clarita Raising the Curtain Foundation, in partnership with the city of Santa Clarita Public Library, presented its second annual Cultural Community Showcase at the Newhall Family Theatre on Saturday evening.
Seven performances native to different cultures around the world were set to perform on the Newhall Family Theatre stage, in front of a wide audience that was eager to witness and learn more about something they weren’t fully knowledgeable about.
The showcase was comprised of musical and dance performances from local groups such as the CalArts Japanese Ensemble, which played the koto, the Kalakeke Pacific Island Dance Company, which performed cultural dances from Tahiti, the SCV Dance group, which performed a swing segment, and various others.
In partnership with the Santa Clarita libraries, the Raising the Curtain Foundation goal is to create affordable and free programming for the community and introduce the community to the performing arts, said Kim Pearlman, president of the foundation.
Although entrance was free, the show was estimated to be sold out due to the high volume of ticket requests beforehand, added Pearlman.
She was excited to witness the show in its entirety and “exposing the community to so many different cultures,” she said.
During the show, the audience was also taught about the historical significance of such dance styles, instruments and special celebrations where the performances would seem appropriate in their culture.
Terrence Garner, a board member of the foundation and emcee for the show along with Carol Rock, would ask the performers questions so the audience could listen to their responses.
Sebastian Melendez a CalArts student originally from Colorado, shared with the audience why he loved playing the koto instrument.
“There’s just something about the art of this whole music that really touched my soul,” said Melendez to the audience.
During the performances, audience members cheered and clapped with a few “wows” when they saw something new that they weren’t exposed to prior. Audience members ranged from all different ages and they all seemed to witness something new they learned and enjoyed.
Olga “Shamiram” Kramarova performed a solo of Raqs Sharqi, an Egyptian belly dance. Her bright colored pink glittery costume and sword was a highlight of the night.
When Garner asked her what attracted her to dance style, she responded with “music.”
Due to the drum rhythms being a prevalent sound in Middle Eastern music, it captivated her, she said.