Candice Barlea is only 5, but the Edison Elementary School
first-grader has already appeared on stage with the Lula Washington
Candice was one of about a dozen students who were selected to
join members of the Los Angeles-based dance troupe when they
entertained students during an assembly Monday in the school
Although Candice stepped through her stage fright and enjoyed the
experience, she said she has no aspirations to be a dancer.
“I want to care for animals in Sea World,” she said.
Choreographer and artistic director Lula Washington, whose
23-year-old dance company performs throughout the U.S., emceed two
shows at Edison. Children, she said, often leave the shows imitating
dance movements they saw the dancers perform.
“We have the opportunity to share our cultural voice from an
Afrocentric view,” she said. “It offers us the opportunity to share
our history and our culture with students.”
The five dancers in Washington’s company presented a program
titled “Reflections in Black.” Washington said that the program
reflected the African-American experience in the U.S. through song,
music and dance.
Sherry Beamer, a PTA first vice president in charge of
programming, said that the association strives to pick entertainment
groups that teach children cultural diversity.
“The school decided they wanted some high energy to welcome the
kids back to school, and this is perfect,” Beamer said.
Sawyer Patterson, 7, was also picked to dance with the troupe.
“Well, it was a big thing, and I had fun doing it,” Sawyer said.
“I dance at home a lot.”