Crosscut Tout: "DANCE This" at the Paramount

Some of the area's finest young dancers will perform works created by guest artists just for them, from hip-hop to classical to ballroom.
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Nathan Ayon and Kelsey Taylor, in "West Side Story"

Some of the area's finest young dancers will perform works created by guest artists just for them, from hip-hop to classical to ballroom.

Every year, at about the time the sun appears for real in early July, another event brings brightness and warmth to Seattle. It's "DANCE This," presented at The Paramount by Seattle Theater Group. This Saturday (July 10) we get the 12th edition of this wonderful annual concert that brings together many of our town's finest young dancers performing works from varied traditions and styles created by gifted local and visiting choreographers.

What makes these concerts so interesting and dynamic is the high level of original dance-making done for the performers by the guest artists, complemented by the appearance of local dance companies whose own young artists are in their teens and 20s. These two elements offer viewers a vivid sampling of the richness of the movement arts in our community. Adding to the excitement is the pleasure of sitting with a wildly enthusiastic audience of friends, families, supporters, and dance lovers who constitute their own tapestry of cultures.

The varied program of this year's "DANCE This" includes works by two fine local contemporary dance-makers: a re-staging of the energetic "Bhangra Fever" from Donald Byrd, artistic director of Spectrum Dance Theater, and a solo by choreographer/dancer Amy O'Neal for the rangy Alex Jackson, who has performed with "DANCE This" since he was 12 years old, and who will turn 21 the day after the concert.

Local young dancers also will be seen in three new works created especially for them: a hip-hop piece by Los Angeles-based Napoleon and Tabitha D'Umo, both judges for the TV show "So You Think You Can Dance"; a ballroom dance by Giselle Peacock, who appears in the touring Broadway show "Burn the Floor"; and a premiere from local teen choreographer Anika Martynowych, the pride of West Seattle.

Four area troupes featuring youthful performers also will take the stage: the take no prisoners style of "Vicious Puppies," a B-boy dance crew inspired and mentored by local favorite break dance group "Massive Monkeys"; rhythm tap from "NW Tap Connection"; the "Apna Bhangra Crew" performing bhangra, a lively and athletic dance originating in the Punjab; and the complexities of Orissi, an Indian classical dance form presented by Urvasi Dance Ensemble.

Each year the "DANCE This" concert ends with a stirring finale that brings all the performers on-stage to perform bits and pieces of each other's styles, followed by a group dance, all staged by Nick and Anna Golla. It's always exciting and quite touching to see these young people sharing in each other''s movement experiences.

If you go: "DANCE This," 7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 10, The Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle. Tickets cost $23 for adults, $12 for students and can be purchased at the box office, online, or by calling 877-784-4849.


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