Old Spanish Days – Fiesta

Santa Barbara, CA. July 31 - August 4, 2024

Californio Canto Baile

The Californio Canto~Baile Arts Education Program is a unique arts education outreach project that focuses on an interdisciplinary learning process, integrating the arts with the fourth grade study of California history.

It utilizes music, dance, culture, and community traditions of Santa Barbara to provide students with a tangible experience of their social studies curriculum at no cost to the participating schools. Students learn historic 19th century songs and dances that are unique to California and Santa Barbara and specifically emulate and describe Rancho family life.

This presents an opportunity to establish physical, artistic, and social connections to our local early California heritage. This classroom program links directly to the Fiesta celebration, making student learning come alive. Participating students have several opportunities to share their knowledge with the community through educational, cultural, and historic venues including Flora y Canto, part of the Friday celebrations of Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

Through teaching this program, Old Spanish Days presents students with an inspirational and fun learning opportunity and increases participation in the arts while simultaneously preserving our community's cultural heritage. It is important for our community, which takes such great pride to preserve its history, to carry these traditional songs and dances on to the next generation.

Old Spanish Days partners with Santa Barbara City College and University of California, Santa Barbara Dance and Music departments to bring college students to assist with classroom instruction under the mentorship of Old Spanish Days dance and music experts. This program is facilitated by 10th generation Santa Barbara resident Thea Vandervoort, who holds a BFA in Dance, an MS in Arts Administration and Non Profit Management, and has over ten years of arts education experience as well as four years of outreach program management experience.

The Californio Canto~Baile program helps preserve the songs and dances unique to Santa Barbara's cultural history, connects learning with community for students, increases their appreciation for local history and culture, and spreads this greater understanding to local residents by presenting the unique songs and dances to the community.

For more information, please contact Thea Vandervoort at [email protected] or visit the Canto~Baile Facebook page.

See what's being said about the Canto~Baile Program:

"Greetings, Just wanted to let you know how moving and charming your group's performance was at Flor y Canto 2012, which in itself is a charming piece of Fiesta. Researching and reviving the local contradance tradition, and teaching it to 4th graders, is a wonderful idea! I think the children will never forget this experience or the lovely social skills it revives. Kudos to everyone involved. I hope this program grows and flourishes in years to come. Sincerely, Malka Percal"