Agirl goes up into her grandmother’s attic, opens an old book about a land of dreams, and its contents come to life—goddesses, birds and butterflies, jesters, kites, an Indian queen, a fire-twirler, and much more.
“DreamWeaver” makes it happen with song, dance and theater, explained June Greenawalt, director, choreographer and teacher. The cast of more than 80, from 7 years old to 50-plus, is a mix of local performers, dance teachers and professional guests.
It’s a Cirque du Soleil-style show, Greenawalt said. “Our philosophy is to bring together all elements of performance art in our community.”
Bob Woodard is co-director and choreographer of this year’s production. He has choreographed the Miss USA, Miss Teen America and Miss Universe pageants, and he and Greenawalt are judges for Show Biz, a national dance competition.
The complete title of the production is “DreamWeaver, the Continuing Journey of Dream Catcher.” The first two shows, titled “Dream Catcher,” were presented in 2008 and 2010. They were a collaboration between Greenawalt, who has taught dance for three decades on the Central Coast and at Allan Hancock College, and Jesus Solorio, who grew up in Paso Robles.
Solorio was given a scholarship to dance at Class Act Dance Studio where he studied with Greenawalt. He went on to become a top-20 finalist on the third season of “So You Think You Can Dance” as well as performing in the Latin Grammy Award show, “Glee,” and other TV shows.
“Jesus wrote a show that he was thinking of taking to Vegas, but we thought, ‘Why not here?’ ” Greenawalt said, “There is so much talent in this area.”
Solorio, who was glad to give back to the community that had given him his start, wrote the 2008 and 2010 “Dream Catcher” shows. He has turned to singing and is recording a debut album in Los Angeles now.
The two “Dream Catcher” shows had different acts and performers.
“We decided to change the name to DreamWeaver this year, because when people saw the title last year, some of them said, ‘I’ve already seen that.’ ”
The show is new every year. Open auditions are advertised in dance studios and schools, and special guests are invited. Brenda Hamilton, a silk aerialist who was a hit last year, returns for this performance.
The dance styles are contemporary and wide-ranging and include a company of adult tappers, Irish dancers, belly dancers, mimes in a hip-hop number, and soloists such as the Earth Goddess, Sun Goddess, Flame Goddess and Indian princess. Junior and senior high school dancers are given the goddess roles, Greenawalt said. There is also a live folk band. Patti Lucas designed the elaborate costumes.
Ali Giroux plays the girl who opens the magic book, and jesters are played by Michael Scribner, who wrote this year’s show, and Michael McLean. The younger children are placed in numbers suited to their abilities.
“We fit the best person for the number. Some are trying things for the first time,” Greenawalt said. “It’s fun to push the kids and watch them fly.”
There is no set structure for the shows, the director explained, but the theme is the same, a celebration of dreams and imagination. It’s a family show by all ages for all ages.