As is becoming tradition, this year we were excited to once again get to dance in the Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade on Friday, December 7th. The theme of this year’s parade was Santa Barbara Shines “inspired by anything uniquely Santa Barbara or Goleta, bright lights, shimmering colors, glitter, gold, and silver hues.”

When choreographing this year’s dances, Angelita was inspired by both the parade’s theme as well as our recent participation in the ceremonies to welcome the Hokulea’s sister canoe, Hikianalia, as she and her crew made their way down the central coast. “The parade theme was Santa Barbara shines - so we decided to focus on the stars that cover the sky. Hence the story of “Hokule’a”, The Star of Gladness, and the crew’s commitment to using celestial navigation.”

We were fortunate to get to partner with local Taiko group Ojai O Daiko this year to help bring our performance alive (the first time our Holiday Parade performance featured live music!). Angelita had first considered pairing Hula and Tahitian dancing with Taiko drumming in 2012. That year, we collaborated with the Taiko Center of Los Angeles to create performances for both our show at the Granada Theatre as well as the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Parade. So we were thrilled to learn that we would once again get to dance to the dynamic drumming! The drummers from Ojai O Daiko brought an amazing energy to the parade and our performance.

“The powerful drums of Ojai O Daiko echoes the howling winds and the shouts of the crew, stillness of air, crashing waves, gentle rolls, shooting stars amongst the millions in the sky while the dancers glide and navigate through the ocean with the stars guiding and lighting them to safety.”

Rachel Monico