Leer! Leer! Leer es aprender! Leer! Leer! Leer is disfrutar! A key message delivered to children of all ages at the Teatro de la Luna’s Festival de Teatro para Niños. The English translation means “To read is to learn. To read is to enjoy. The Teatro de la Luna company stressed this over and over in a fun rhyming rap song for the children during the down time in between shows. There were lots of activities to keep the youngsters occupied including a reading corner, coloring, games, puzzles, as well as arts and crafts. Members of the company danced along with the children in the lobby as they taught the fun and exciting song. There was a little something for everyone.
Two big stage performances took place during the festival; the first was a bilingual production of Hansel & Gretel the classic Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tale. And the other was a multi-cultural dance performance, featuring four different groups of dancers that encompassed many different styles and cultures. Four members of the Teatro company donned brightly colored jumpers and matching hats to take on the role of storytellers. With high energy and lots of movement they discussed the importance of reading and freeing the mind to all the exciting adventure books have to offer. Then they opened up a giant fairytale book and became the characters themselves. The performance alternated back and forth between Spanish and English providing a unique experience for everyone watching.
The second stage performance, featuring four different dance troops was lively and involved large portions of audience participation. Before the first group started – a Teatro member invited all the children onto the stage to play a fun call and response game. And then the dancing began. Two young dancers from the Matices Peruvian Folklore Dance school graced the audience with “Marinera Nortena” – a Peruvian dance done in two parts. Isabella Tablett and Leo Ochoa, still in elementary school, executed these dances in fancy costumes with a fantastic passion.
Audiences were then treated to “Abikan Dance & Drum Ensemble” – the only Africuban folk dance and drum group in America. Creating a fusion of African and Cuban cultures with heavy drumming involved this group had 5 young dancers perform various dances which involved audience call and response. It was a unique look at the culture. This was followed by a Paraguayan dance group “Ballet Folklòrico Ko’et ì.” This group presented simple spinning dances from Paraguay with all of their young ballerinas outfitted in bright orange and black fan skirts. The finale of the dance performances included “Las Lunitas” the theatre and dance students from Teatro de la Luna on stage to do a bilingual rap dance to Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs & Ham. There was also some Spanish poetry read by a few of these precocious youngsters.
It was a great day spent immersed in culture and a fun time for everyone.