Dance academy

The Zermeño Dance Academy hosts a showcase of young dancers in “La Tierra”, a pre-Fiesta celebration

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The Zermeño Dance Academy hosted a showcase of talented young dancers on Sunday afternoon.

Locals explained why dancing is important to the cultural fabric of Santa Barbara.

“It’s a Spanish party that only takes place in Santa Barbara. Nowhere else, just Santa Barbara,” young dancer Angelee Titus said of the pre-Fiesta celebration.

Young dancers shared their enthusiasm for the “La Tierra Buena” festivities, chanting “Viva La Fiesta!”

“Tierra Buena” means “the good land,” and Santa Barbara natives like Perla Lewis have expressed pride that it’s unique to Santa Barbara.

“I went to college here, and so it was just part of, like, social for me,” Lewis said.

The tradition of dancing in Santa Barbara continues with a new generation.

“But now with my daughter, I love watching her dance. And every time I watch her dance, it’s super special,” Lewis said.

“I think that’s one thing that we try to bring to the studio and the academy, is that sincere love for tradition, history and culture here in Santa Barbara,” said Daniela Zermeño, director of the Zermeño Dance Academy.

Daniela shared how dance is a key part of her identity saying, “When I describe myself as a person, I am flamenco, I am the dance, the teacher and the instructor. And that’s just a huge part of my life as a person.

The dance of “La Tierra Buena” is just a preview of what the community will see in a few weeks at Fiesta.