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  • Writer's pictureJen Norris

Report: San Francisco Youth Theatre’s Dancing Home March 29, 2023 Bernal Branch, San Francisco Pub

Performers from SFYT's Dancing Home performance in Bernal Library Community Room; Photo J Norris

Bernal Library’s Community Room was full to overflowing for San Francisco Youth Theatre’s (SFYT) bi-lingual Spanish-English dramatization of “Dancing Home,” a novel about immigration and the importance of family and friendship. The book is written by Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta and was adapted to the stage by local artist Dyana Diaz who also directed the production.

Five adult actors play all the parts, telling the tale of Margie, born and raised in the United States and her cousin Lupe who is newly arrived from Mexico. The girls face bullying at their middle school. They struggle to find common interests across the cultural and language divide, until they join the afterschool folklorico club. Dancing brings them together.

Performers from SFYT's Dancing Home performance in Bernal Library Community Room; Photo J Norris

The performance begins and ends with swirling skirts and percussive footwork typical of folklorico dance. Other Mexican artistic traditions are also woven into the show including poetry, song, brightly colored murals and the tradition of a nativity scene, or Nascimento, in place of a Christmas tree. The acting is excellent and the story brought a tear to the eye of several adult audience members. The younger playgoers were enthralled, clapping along, joining in the danced finale and exclaiming when the dialogue turned to ghosts.

The play is well constructed and interesting for audiences of all ages. One of the major take-aways is that America is a place where people came from all over the world, and while some have been here longer than others, almost all of us have origins elsewhere.

It’s great to have the library hosting performances and live activities once more. On the way out each child was offered a free copy of the book in English or Spanish, courtesy of a donation by the authors.

Children dance with performers from SFYT's Dancing Home at Bernal Library Community Room; Photo J Norris

Want to bring this show to your school or organization? Contact them at

Report By Jen Norris for Bernal

Published March 30, 2023

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