Far from the shores of the Pacific Ocean, Sue White, the director of Foot Notes Studio of Dance, Inc., in Exeter, New Hampshire, brought a bit of the Golden State to her hometown last June with her studio’s spring show at Exeter High School. Approximately 250 students participated in two performances, which White estimates cost $7,000 to stage (including the cost of rental space, advertising and programs).

“The show is all about the dancers and the audience; it’s a night for everyone to enjoy and learn,” White says. “It’s important to keep the audience’s attention. When they see different ages and levels perform, they realize how hard the kids have worked and how far some of them have come.” To help brighten up your next recital, White shared a few ideas from her “California Dreamin’”–themed show. DT

Song: “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess, by George Gershwin

Genre/Level: Intermediate lyrical

“My mother used to play this song on the piano when I was growing up, so it always makes me smile,” says White. The bright yellow and brown costumes radiated onstage in this feel-good piece, and dancers used gestures, such as rocking a baby and fanning their faces, while they smiled as if the sun had just come out from behind a cloud.

Song: “California Dreamin’,” by The Mamas and The Papas

Genre/Level: Advanced contemporary

In bright pink and orange flowing costumes, six dancers in this number performed large, graceful movements based on the concept of lying on a California beach. “The idea was to show a light, bright feel,” says White.

Song: “Swim Little Fish” by Sharon, Lois, and Bram

Genre/Level: Creative movement for 3- to 4-year-olds

These little dancers donned purple costumes with fish headbands as they held hands and swayed side to side, imitating the back-and-forth motion of a school of fish playing in the ocean waves. White recalls that this number was “big smiles and lots of fun!”

More Sunny Song Choices 

 “The Sound of San Francisco,” Global Deejays

 “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” Brian Hyland

 “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” The Beach Boys

 “Here Comes the Sun,” The Beatles

 “Sunglasses at Night,” Corey Hart

 “Pocketful of Sunshine,” Natasha Bedingfield

 “Wipe Out,” The Surfaris

 “California Girls,” The Beach Boys

 “Summer Breeze,” Jason Mraz

 “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” Sly and the  Family Stone

 “Sea Cruise,” Frankie Ford

 “By the Beautiful Sea,” Knickerbocker Four

Lauren Green is a senior BFA dance major at SUNY University at Buffalo and a member of the Zodiaque Dance Company.

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