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Dancing in the Santa Cruz Streets

A flash mob and other merry, spirit-raising gatherings festoon the festive week.

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    Santa Cruz Dance Week is joyful, jumptastic, and bound to show up in the middle of a street. Feel the get-moving magic from April 23 through May 2.

    THERE ARE SEVERAL WAYS... to pass a performer who is performing in public, say, out on a street corner or in the middle of a pedestrian mall. There's the Hurry Hustle, where the person zooming by doesn't even glance at the performer. There's the Gotta Get Somewhere Trot, where the person gives a glance but doesn't pause to enjoy. And then there's the Soak This Moment Up and Enjoy kind of passerby. You can guess what this one involves: The person passing the performer stops, listens, watches, cocks a head, stays for a second song, and is enriched by the experience, however brief. It's a fortunate thing that most of us tend to fall in the last category, if the semi-circles that form around street buskers are any evidence. And it is a fortunate thing, too, that Santa Cruz Dance Week summons so many of those lookie-loo, savor-the-moment spirits, the kind of people who don't go head-down by a dancer on a boulevard but rather pause to connect with what is happening, right then. For dancers truly do take to the street during the late April week, which frolics, pirouettes, and goes for the high leaps from Thursday, April 23 through Saturday, May 2.

    FLASH MOB, AHOY: You won't merely be watching a bevy of talented troupes shake their skilled stuff in the street, however. There is a flash mob you can join, which is especially nice if you have "little or no technical dance experience." Also keep a watch for Dance in Unlikely Places, which is just what it is says it is. Any person strutting by you may begin to samba or do the snake at any ol' time over Dance Week's opening weekend, in any strange or delightful place. Open classes are another fine choice, too, if you've been wanting to give your proverbial tailfeather a workout. As for the night of Dancing in the Streets? That's Thursday, April 23, and it is truly quite the delightful spectacle. Everyone around Downtown Santa Cruz goes into Soak This Moment Up and Enjoy mode at the sight of "dozens of Brazilian drummers" and "aerial artists" and a host of remarkable artists. Call it a freeing moment, of the highest order, to see dance intersecting with intersections normally dominated by cars. And, of course, intersecting with the hearts, eyes, and imaginations of the people who stop to watch. If you think that "hearts, eyes, and imaginations" bit is too gooey and goes too far, then we recommend seeing more live dance. If you think it doesn't go quite far enough, then you're a dance fan, for sure.