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stg: 11th annual "dance this" performance on july 11th

STG’s very cool promo art
I’ve always been curious about Seattle Theatre Group’s DANCE This. It looks like a rush of culturally exciting energy, with 120 teens performing movement from around the world. Lady Dangerettes…Step Afrika!…and more. Tickets are $23 and $26.

I won’t make it this year either, as it’s on July 11 and I’ll be at the American Dance Festival in North Carolina. But for those of you not sweating in North Carolina’s 90-degree humidity with me, here’s the press release verbatim from STG.

STG presents 11th Annual DANCE This performance
A cross-cultural collaboration of professional artists and young dancers

Program includes step, modern, acrobatics and traditional dance from Mexico, Africa, the Middle East and Asia featuring over 120 performers.

SEATTLE – Seattle Theatre Group (STG) presents DANCE This on Saturday, July 11, 2009 at The Paramount Theatre at 7:30pm. The annual performance features local teen artists and professional choreographers collaborating through cross-cultural dance. DANCE This 2009 includes over 120 performers featuring step, modern, acrobatics and traditional dance from Mexico, Africa, the Middle East and Asia – all set to live music.Dancers Flying

Since 1999, youth dance groups, representing the cultural diversity of the greater Seattle region, are invited to participate in two performances – a matinee for community youth groups and an evening public performance. DANCE This performance participants rehearse in the spring and more intensely during the two weeks leading up to the performances, including taking part in cross-cultural workshops, technical and dress rehearsals.

The performance connects dance from across cultures, both traditionally rooted and contemporary in form. The culmination of the performers’ experience is an explosive and celebratory group finale featuring 120 participants performing one another’s dance forms together, demonstrating the history and connection between dance styles and cultures. Nationally acclaimed and visiting professional artists play an important role as teachers and choreographers, raising the caliber and innovation of the performance, year after year. Performing in such a high-quality performance empowers and teaches youth the value of commitment towards a professional goal.

This year’s DANCE This finale brings local choreographer Daniel Cruz together with Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), a Boston-based composer, conductor and violinist, to direct a piece that incorporates live music, dance, acrobatics, martial arts with a blend of cultural influences from the United States, Mexico, Africa, the Middle East and Japan.

“We always strive to offer fresh new ways to experience dance and movement — this year’s performance, with all live music continues that tradition. In addition we will highlight new local artists and communities – not just from the world of dance, but from movement forms of martial arts, acrobatics and step. Lastly, for the first time we are inviting a teen choreographer from our professional training program, Young Choreographers Lab, to premiere her first work. This year’s program is sure to make folks want to dance,” said Vicky Lee, STG Director of Education & Performance Programs.

The DANCE This program includes over 120 performers featuring:
· Mexican folk dances performed by 10 dancers from Joyas Mestizas, with live music by the bands Mariachi Quinto Sol (mariachis) and Zangoloteo (son jarocho).
· Contemporary dance choreographed by Sonia Dawkins, performed by 10 auditioned teens in the DANCE This Company with nine professional dancers from SD Prism 2. All music is composed by DBR.
· Step Collaboration choreographed by Washington D.C.’s Step Afrika! The piece incorporates the rhythm and roots of step, African dance and tap dance, featuring eight UW Step Team members (Kappa Alpha Psi and Zeta Phi Beta), eight drill team members from the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club Lady Dangerettes, six dancers from Sukutai African Dance Ensemble and ten tappers from Northwest Tap Connection.
· Dabke, a folkloric dance of the Middle East performed by Arab Children’s Dabke Group with live Middle Eastern rapper.
· Taiko-Martial Arts Collaboration, performed by 14 Kokon Taiko drummers, eight Chinese Wushu and Tai Chi Academy martial artists and eight Institute for Chinese Martial Arts kung fu artists, staged by Daniel Cruz (local hip hop choreographer).
· Young Artist Contemporary Choreography, choreographed by teen artist, Alice Madden from STG’s Young Choreographers Lab, featuring 11 teen dancers from local high schools and Cornish College of the Arts. Madden is the first teen choreographer to be featured in the program and was mentored by Amy O’Neal and Mark Haim.
· S.C.A.T.S. (Seattle Cirque & Acrobat TeamS), Seattle Public School’s demonstration team from Dearborn Park Elementary School. Performance includes tumbling, juggling, unicycling, jump rope, hand walking and Double-Dutch.
· Collaborative Music and Dance Finale, performed by all performers, choreographed by Daniel Cruz with Music Director Daniel Bernard Roumain

Choreographers and guest artists include:
· Mfon Akpan & Ryan Johnson (Guest Artists), Step Afrika!
· Laura Contreras (Choreographer & Music Director), Joyas Mestizas and Mariachi Quinto Sol
· Daniel Cruz (Choreographer), Taiko-Martial Arts Collaboration
· Chris Daigre (Choreographer), S.C.A.T.S
· Sonia Dawkins (Choreographer), Contemporary Dance
· Quetzal Flores, Martha Gonzalez, Francisco Orozco (Guest Artist), Zangoloteo
· Maha Gebara (Choreographer), Arab Children’s Dabke GroupJoyas MestizasSM
· Alice Madden (Choreographer), Young Artist Contemporary
· DBR (Guest Artist), Music Director

Performance Groups:
· Chinese Wushu and Tai Chi Academy
· Lady Dangerettes Drill Team
· Dearborn Park S.C.A.T.S Team
· Institute of Chinese Martial Arts
· Joyas Mestizas
· Mariachi Quinto Sol
· Northwest Tap Connection
· Seattle Arab Children’s Dabke Group
· Seattle Kokon Taiko
· Step Afrika!
· Sukutai Music and Dance Ensemble
· Zangoloteo

The DANCE This program receives support from NoStankYou, BECU, Boeing, PONCHO, ArtsFund, 4Culture, Seattle Foundation, City of Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.

DANCE This has grown into a multi-faceted program that includes performances at The Paramount Theatre (youth matinee and evening public performance), a two-week summer dance training intensive and diverse styles and new this year, DANCE This Camp at Centrum.

The training intensive is located Seattle Center from June 22 – July 3 for students ages 13 – 22. DANCE This Camp, located in Port Townsend at Centrum (Fort Worden State Park) will be held August 2 – 8 for students entering grades 9 – 12. Both programs invite students of all experience levels and feature a friends and family showcase at the end of the course. For registration and more information visit

Many DANCE This participants demonstrate clear growth and development – beginning in the DANCE This Intensive Training program; continuing in subsequent years in the DANCE This performance; and ultimately advancing to pursue professional careers in dance.

DANCE This provides continuity in learning through opportunities to participate in STG’s dance engagements, such as master-classes, workshops, lecture/demonstrations and open rehearsals with professional dancers and choreographers. Subsidized tickets are provided to professional dance performances, exposing students to internationally renowned dance companies and artists and enhancing their connection to the current professional dance world.

Tickets: DANCE This performance tickets are $23.00 in advance (not including fees) and are available online at, by phone at (877)STG-4TIX or (877)784-4849, in person at The Paramount Theatre box office, Monday through Friday 10:00am-6:00pm and The Paramount and Moore Theatre venue kiosks, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. The Paramount Theatre is located at 911 Pine Street in downtown Seattle.

STG is committed to providing ongoing education and community opportunities with over 50 programs a year serving more than 20,000 students, artists and community members. Since 1999, STG has established ongoing young artist training and performance programs including DANCE This and More Music @ The Moore. Access to the performing arts includes school residencies, community partnerships and a subsidized ticket program. For more information visit:

About Seattle Theatre Group: Seattle Theatre Group is the 501 (c)(3) non-profit arts organization that operates the historic Paramount and Moore Theatres in Seattle, Washington. Our mission is to make diverse performing arts and education an integral part of our region’s cultural identity while keeping these two landmark venues alive and vibrant. STG presents a range of performances from Broadway, off-Broadway, dance and jazz to comedy, concerts of all genres, speakers and family shows – at both historic theatres in Seattle and venues throughout the Puget Sound and Portland, Oregon.


Performance Group Bios:
· Chinese Wushu and Tai Chi Academy offers a full spectrum Wushu and Tai Chi training. Founder, Master Yijiao Hong is a Wushu International A Grade Judge certified by the International Wushu Federation in Beijing, China 2004. She judged in Canada and U.S.A. National Wushu Team Trials between 1999-2003 and is a 20th generation of the Chen Style Tai Chi of China. Master Hong became an assistant professor and team coach of the Zhe Jiang College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1992, with a team that competed in China national tournaments in Tai Chi and Wushu until she immigrated to Seattle. In 1996, she established the Chinese Wushu and Tai Chi Academy in Seattle and fosters thousands of students, also offering seminars and workshops to schools and corporations nationally and internationally. In film and performance, Master Hong and her students were featured in Postcards from Buster on PBS, China in Dance 2000 and a Shaw Brothers promotional film.

· Dangerettes Drill Team was formed at the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club in 1987 under the instruction of Margo King & April Gibson. The team has grown significantly over the years and includes students ages 5 – 18. Lady Dangerettes with the acronym L-Leave A-Attitude D-Discipline Y-Yourself they show Discipline, Respect, Intellect, Leadership and Love as a team under the instruction of original Dangerette members Gwen Martin & Veronica Larry.

· Dearborn Park S.C.A.T.S Team perform tumbling, juggling, unicycling, jump rope, hand walking and Double-Dutch. The Dearborn Park SCATS team, coached by Ed Adams, travel around the Greater Seattle area performing for schools, colleges (Seattle Pacific University, University of Washington, Seattle University), Sports Teams (Seahawks, Sonics), festivals and parades. Currently three Seattle Public Schools offer a S.C.A.T.S (Success Oriented P.E.) program including Dearborn Park Elementary, John Muir Elementary and Orca K-8 where students learn these activities in P.E. class making athletic performance an important part of campus life at these schools.

· Institute of Chinese Martial Arts, located in Federal Way, offers training in traditional Chinese martial arts including Kung fu, Tai chi, Qigong and The Lion and Dragon Dances. IOCMA’s mission is to provide traditional Chinese martial arts from China masters to local communities for self-defense as well as overall heath and well being in a supportive atmosphere. IOCMA was founded in 2003 by Franklin Hsu, Sifu Zhu, and Rick Craig. Instructors include two masters from China: Sifu Zhu from Guangzhou (southern China) and Sifu Yan from Beijing (northern China), both offer a traditional martial arts training-focusing not only the forms but the application and not only the physical but the mental spiritual and emotional connections.

· Joyas Mestizas is a local non-profit Mexican dance organization focused on young dancers who love to dance and learn about Mexican heritage. The group promotes awareness, appreciation and understanding of the rich cultures of Mexico and Latin America. Instructors include Laura Contreras, Deleana Guerrero and Luna Garcia who work with approximately 30 energetic young dancers at the South Park Community Center.

· Mariachi Quinto Sol was initiated as a University of Washington music organization and traditional mariachi band aiming to preserve and share Mexican culture throughout the region. The band also hopes to encourage young students to pursue higher education by providing a unique opportunity to participate in UW extracurricular activities.

· Northwest Tap Connection is a distinctive urban dance studio specializing in Rhythm Tap. The studio’s philosophy is that dance enriches the lives of the students, while developing self-discipline, instilling self-confidence and encouraging achievement and goal-setting. Northwest Tap Connection is dedicated to building the whole dancer through a love of dance, personal discipline, respect for the community, respect for fellow dancers and knowledge of the history of the art form. Senior students have danced with tap legends such as the late Gregory Hines, the late Nicholas Brothers, the late Buster Brown, Savion Glover, Jeni LeGon and Jimmy Slyde. Their repertoire includes choreography by nationally acclaimed artists such as Diane Walker, Lane Alexander and Chester Whitmore. NW Tap Connection and students of the studio have performed in DANCE This 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008.

· Seattle Arab Children’s Dabke Group was co-founded in 2000 by choreographer Maha Gebara, and costumer/ director Beth Mahmoud-Howell as a way to share the beauty of Arab culture, and encourage Arab-American youth to be proud of their Middle Eastern heritage.

· Dabke is the traditional dance that is at the heart of Arab culture. It is most common to Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. The dance is an important part of community celebrations symbolizing cooperation and participate linking hands and dancing together. It is most common to see dabke performed at weddings and community celebrations.

· Seattle Kokon Taiko (SKT) style comes primarily from the peasant festival music of old Japan, but is infused with a post-war blend of American rhythms and jazz influences. Since 1980, SKT has endeavored to combine the ancient with the modern; the repertoire is a mix of traditional pieces and contemporary compositions. Through taiko, SKT hopes to contribute to the development of a uniquely Japanese American art form –Japanese in origin, American in expression– that weaves threads of continuity between generations and builds bridges of understanding among people of all nationalities and walks of life.

· Step Afrika! is the first professional company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping. Founded in December 1994, the company is critically-acclaimed for its efforts to promote an understanding of and appreciation for stepping and the dance tradition’s use as an educational tool for young people worldwide. Step Afrika reaches tens of thousands of Americans each year and has performed on many stages in North & South America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.

Based in Washington, DC, the company has been featured on CNN, BET, PBS, NPR as well as numerous books, documentaries and articles that seek to explore the tradition of stepping. Step Afrika! completes an annual 50-city tour of American colleges and universities from Maine to Mississippi. The company is a model for the use of stepping in educational settings, espousing themes such as teamwork, academic achievement and cross-cultural understanding.

· Sukutai Music and Dance Ensemble performs traditional and contemporary music from Africa with vibrant music, colorful costumes and dances with high-energy footwork and quick lively drumming. Director Lora Chiorah has taught for over 26 years with the Washington State Arts Commission and as a recreation specialist with the Seattle Parks Department, sharing her knowledge of music, song, dance, story-telling and children’s games. Chiorah instructed the DANCE This Intensive in 2006, 2007 and choreographed and performed in the 1999, 2006 and 2008 DANCE This performances.

· Zangoloteo is a band that plays Son jarocho, the music and dance of Veracruz, Mexico that forges its sound from indigenous, African and Spanish influences. This music is born out of a participatory music called the fandango. Zangoloteo is a recent collaboration between ethnomusicologist Francisco Orozco, and Chicano as well as rock musicians Martha Gonzalez and Quetzal Flores from Los Angeles.

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