Wednesday, January 16, 2019     Volume: 19, Issue: 45

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on May 9th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 10 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 10

Dancers with Allan Hancock's Youth Dance program present a performance of 'Tarzan'


It was an Academy Award-winning song that sparked the idea for Allan Hancock College Youth Dance's new show.

Madison Yolar-Groppetti, a choreographer for the annual Magical Moments and spring recital performance, said the song "You'll Be In My Heart," written by Phil Collins for the Disney film Tarzan, led them to consider tackling the classic story of the orphan boy raised by gorillas in the jungle.

Dancing the role of Tarzan in the Allan Hancock College Youth Dance spring recital and Magical Moments production of 'Tarzan' is Hannah Reynolds (center) with Monika Nash and Renata Uribe-Quezada (bottom from left) and Presley Wright.

"We've done so many different stories over the years," Yolar-Groppetti said. "We've done fairy tales and Disney stories. I was working with the other choreographer, Cecelia Andrade, to come up with ideas. I remembered the song and thought, 'Why don't we try Tarzan?'"

The Tarzan performance is featured as part of the Magical Moments and spring recital production the group puts on annually. More than 150 young dancers will take the stage on May 12 and May 13 at Santa Maria High School's Ethel Pope Auditorium, featuring a variety of styles including jazz, hip-hop, tap, ballet, contemporary, and folklorico. The production will also feature a live narrative written by Eimile Pay.

Dancers Hannah Reynolds and Lacy Zelmer play the featured roles of Tarzan and Jane, respectively. Reynolds, a student at Pioneer Valley High School, has danced since she was 5 years old. She recently played the Russian lead in the company's production of The Nutcracker. Zelmer, who has studied dance for the past four years, previously played the Flower Queen in The Nutcracker.

Sarah Yamaichi is one of more than 150 dancers participating in the Allan Hancock College Youth Dance spring recital and Magical Moments production of Tarzan. The performance runs May 12 and 13 at the Ethel Pope Auditorium.

The performance is a long-running tradition that also features choreographers who themselves participated in Youth Dance's classes. Yolar-Groppetti started dancing with the program when she was 9. She stayed in for several years and when she was graduating, she met and worked with Reynolds as the young dancer was just beginning to take classes.

"When I graduated high school, I was able to be a teacher there," Yolar-Groppetti said. "The director brought me in and started off with one class, and now I have five classes."

The program offers a number of courses, including introduction to ballet, introduction to jazz/hip-hop, as well as more advanced classes in ballet, tap, jazz, and others. The program is run through Hancock's community education program. Yolar-Groppetti said the classes offer much more than instructional guidance.

"I grew up in the program," she said. "I know how special it is. Looking back on it, it offers so much. It's a good place to be. You develop a relationship with the teachers and dancers. It's a bond that no one else really understands."

You dancer, me audience
Allan Hancock College Youth Dance presents the annual spring recital and Magical Moments production, 'Tarzan,' May 12 and 13 at the Ethel Pope Auditorium, Broadway and Morrison streets, Santa Maria. Show times are 7 p.m. on Saturday with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Cash-only tickets available at the door are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Call (805) 922-6966, Ext. 3209, for more information.

Yolar-Groppetti said one of the reasons the story of Tarzan was ideal for the performance is because it offers plenty of opportunities to showcase different dance styles including tap, hip-hop, and jazz.

"The dancers are amazing," Yolar-Groppetti said. "I just think it's going to be a really wonderful show that everyone can enjoy." 

Arts and Lifestyle Writer Rebecca Rose dances like a gazelle. Contact her at

Weekly Poll
Should Congress fund President Trump's border wall?

Yes. Our southern border is in crisis!
No. It's a waste of tax money!
We don't need an actual wall. Just beef up border security.
I'm more worried about the Canadian border.

| Poll Results