30th Annual French Festival Highlight Videos
By Robert Bernstein
The French Festival was back in a big way for its 30th anniversary! Steve Hoegerman, who created the Festival in 1988, was still Emcee on the main Moulin Rouge Stage! This year the French Festival kicked off on the actual Bastille Day, July 14.
Of course, the French Festival is not just about France, but also about all French speaking lands, including French Polynesia, French North Africa, French Indochina and North American Acadian and Cajun.
With non-stop entertainment on three stages, it is not possible to catch every performance, so I focused on the dancing on the main Moulin Rouge Stage.
There were some schedule glitches as one of the first acts was a no-show. And Tina's Ports of Paradise Polynesian Dance was almost an hour late getting started. But people were patient and the performances were well worth waiting for!
Here was one of the many performances by Tina's Ports of Paradise Polynesian Dance
And here are the rest of my videos of their performances!
Jatila van der Veen is one of my favorite dancers in our region. At times in the past I have even been privileged to swing dance with her. She is fluent and skilled in a wide range of dance styles from around the world. She throws herself into each dance with full energy and passion.
Jatila van der Veen, PhD is also Project Scientist in the Experimental Cosmology Group at UCSB Physics. Talk about versatility!
What could be better than watching Jatila perform? Jatila performing with Russian International Champion Dancer Vasily Golovin!
Here are the rest of my videos of Jatila and Vasily performing!
Vasily was generous with his spectacular dancing abilities, dancing with other partners as well
Here are all of my other videos of Vasily performing
A perennial crowd favorite at the French Festival is Les Femmes Fatales Drag Revue. These Trans performers will amaze you! One memorable performance was by "Lady Liberty" dancing to Sheryl Crow's "Soak Up the Sun"
Here are all of my Drag Revue videos
Yes Dance Studio showcased their skills with a sensuous modern dance
With so many sensuous, passionate dances, it is hard to decide which is most sensuous and passionate. But, of course, the Argentine Tango is famed for those distinctions
It has been said, "Dancing Is a Perpendicular Expression of a Horizontal Desire"
And, naturally, everyone was there to sample the food of a variety of French-speaking lands as well. This included crepes and French pastries, various regional foods of France, Cajun food and escargots, which have become quite popular now!
Plus, plenty of French art, clothing and crafts!
A show of hands at one point indicated hundreds of people had come all the way from Los Angeles and beyond for our local festival.
All proceeds from the French Festival now support Center Stage Theater and Speaking of Stories, forming a strong foundation for their annual fundraising efforts.
One final note: Moulin Rouge Stage Emcee Steve Hoegerman also leads personalized tours to "Hidden Provence". I went on one of these tours a few years ago and I highly recommend it. He finds places that would not be obvious to most tourists. He also is a model of traveling light. He is able to travel for months without the need to check baggage. A great learning experience for me!