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Michael Ryan concert showcases Spanish music, dance

Claudia de la Cruz performed with Michael Ryan and Friends on Saturday in the Ann and Steve Morgan Auditorium at the University of La Verne. Cruz, a flamenco dancer, founded her own dance company, Tierra Flamenca, in Santa Ana and has come to be known as the “Gypsy Poet of Electric Dance.” /Warren Bessant

Claudia de la Cruz performed with Michael Ryan and Friends on Saturday in the Ann and Steve Morgan Auditorium at the University of La Verne. Cruz, a flamenco dancer, founded her own dance company, Tierra Flamenca, in Santa Ana and has come to be known as the “Gypsy Poet of Electric Dance.” / photo by Warren Bessant

Genesis Miranda
Staff Writer

Michael Ryan and Friends enchanted the audience in the packed Morgan Auditorium on Saturday with the concert “Gypsy Passion.” It was full of great Spanish music and flamenco dancers making the experience exhilarating.

As the last few audience members entered looking for an open seat, the band immediately started playing their first number titled “Firenze.”

The musicians did not waste a minute of their time; before the audience stopped clapping, they quickly started their next song. Around the third song, flamenco dancer Claudia de la Cruz came out to perform.

The five-member band featured drummer Mike Bennett, guitarists Ken Söderlund and Ryan, bass player Garret Wolfe and flute and guitar player Hai Muradian. Ryan and Muradian were also the vocalists.

The band played a variety of songs and styles including “La Isla Bonita” by Madonna, and “Snow” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

It was clear that audience members were not the only ones enjoying the show.

“I’m enjoying my reflection” Ryan joked about the bright light reflected off his guitar.

The dance sequences included wardrobe changes and an additional flamenco dancer, Kathy Söderlund.

“It was great to see the auditorium filled for a show with great music and great dancing” said University librarian Erin Gratz.

“The show was delightful. I enjoyed the sound of the multiple guitars” Alex Wallace, a freshman engineering major at Cal Poly Pomona, said.

“It was a great showcase of culture and talent” Christine Nielsen, a freshman zoology major at Cal Poly Pomona, said.

Genesis Miranda can be reached at genesis.miranda@laverne.edu.

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