Paying homage to not only the different cultures that make up a majority of Hudson County, the cast members for the 2004 Multi-Cultural Performance celebrated the music and style of decades past from the 1920s Charleston to the contemporary hip-hop mixes of this century.
"It's celebrating the cultures and customs, so we can expand the minds of the community," said Carmen Guerra of West New York, Spanish teacher and coordinator of the showcase.
For Guerra and fellow coordinator Ileana Marti of Secaucus, a Spanish teacher, it was important to have the kids exposed to different cultures and different music styles throughout the times that gave birth to the styles of today.
The kids, who auditioned for a spot in the program, were able to present their own ideas and routines for the show. This gave them a hands-on feel for the performances, which enhanced the experience.
"It hasn't been easy, but we try to motivate the kids to get involved," said Marti. "Rehearsals have been intense after school for two hours each time."
Some students performed songs while others participated in dance routines. The students who were in more than one performance, performed songs and participated in dance routines.
"I love it because basically this is my interest, I love to dance," said Junior Jesus Rigo, 18, who is a first-time participant in the show. "I'm new in this school, but I've performed in New York City with friends as well."
The dance numbers ranged from simplified choreographed routines and ethnic dances from countries like Colombia and India, to a stunning rendition of the 1980s-era Flashdance routine by Junior Sasha Herrera.
"I'm a dancer, so besides this I'm in a dance school," said Sasha, 17. "I was in the language show last year, and it was fun because I love performing. It could be any little show and I want to be in it."
The cast has been in rehearsals since January for the Friday night show, which was completely sold out. In years past, the performances have only been for the student body and faculty community. However, due to the resounding success they've had, this year's performance was open to the public in a one-night showcase.
"When I suggested the celebration three years ago, it was widely accepted and since has grown. It has evolved into a bigger thing," said Francesco Sabetta, supervisor of the World Language Department.
Throughout the week the kids are involved with classroom projects, language activities, and even food preparation of different cultures.
"The energy and amount of time they're putting into this, I think it's fantastic," said Sabetta.
Both faculty and students are pleased with the progress of the program and hope that the Multi-Cultural Performance continues to expand and be an ongoing event.