East LA Youth Celebrate National Dance Day

LOS ANGELES (July 27, 2012) – Sixty students from the East LA Performing Arts Academy, together with their mentors from UCLA’s Dance Department, will be participating in National Dance Day at the LA County Music Center on Saturday, July 28th.

Through a grant from the Flourish Foundation, 30 advanced dance students and 30 incoming ninth-graders had the chance to work with professional dancers and choreographers, as well as dance majors from UCLA, at a Summer Dance Intensive at the East LA Performing Arts Academy.

Alli Gray, a choreographer with VersaStyle Dance Company, who recently performed in New York at the Ladies of Hip Hop Festival, is director of the Summer Dance Intensive. The curriculum for the program was developed collaboratively with the school’s dance teacher, Angela Weber. This school is one of the five smaller schools on the Torres campus in East Los Angeles.

Students studied hip-hop, jazz, ballet, West African and street dance styles for a week in the East LA Performing Arts Academy’s dance studios, culminating in a free community performance at the Torres Auditorium on Friday, July 27. Students also prepared to be part of National Dance Day by learning the routines posted on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” website.

The program is sponsored by the Flourish Foundation, a non-profit established by Phil Rosenthal, producer of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and his wife, Monica, to support arts education in underserved communities.

Dr. Kevin Kane, executive director of the Flourish Foundation, said the Summer Dance Intensive “gives at-risk youth access to the transformative power of the arts through an immersion experience, where they work with young professional artists and become artists themselves.”

Emilio Guzman, a senior at the East LA Performing Arts Academy said, “This is the best summer I have ever had, because I am telling my story through dance.”

Contact: Carolyn McKnight (323) 327-2559


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