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DALA shakes things up with spring showcase

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By Special to the Monitor

Dance Arts Los Alamos (DALA) is proud to present its Spring Showcase at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Duane Smith Auditorium. This year’s spring performance, which is free, will take a slightly different format.  In addition to presenting the achievements of students of many different styles of dance, the performance will also include an abridged version of the ballet “Cinderella.”

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Working together with DALA Executive Director Valerie Silks, Ballet Curriculum Director Christin Severini incorporated many different levels of ballet into “Cinderella,” allowing many of the school’s younger dancers to take the stage alongside older, more experienced ballerinas. The ballet will be performed in two acts, to the beloved music of Sergei Prokofiev. Erin Burr and Nicole Silks both portray Cinderella. Burr will perform Cinderella at home, while Silks will portray her at the ball. Megan Kelley will dance as the Fairy Godmother, and graduating senior Bethany Letellier as the Winter Fairy.

Christin Severini is particularly inspired by ballets that tell a story. She has danced in “Cinderella” in her professional career with American Ballet Theater and found that this ballet was an ideal vehicle for dancers’ individual expression, character development and acting.

“Casting younger and older dancers together encourages teamwork and cohesion among all levels of dancers,” Christin Severini explained. “It is exciting for the young ones to be part of a bigger story, it is mutually encouraging for them and the younger dancers really look up to the older girls.”

The principal and solo roles in “Cinderella” will be danced by Ballet V dancers, demi-soloists by Ballet IV and corps de ballet by Ballet III dancers. Younger students, in Ballet II, are cast in the roles of bluebirds and clocks.

Although inspired by Sir Frederick Ashton’s 1969 choreography for the Royal Ballet’s production of “Cinderella,” the choreography presented here by Severini and Silks is original and has been developed especially for this performance, taking into account each student’s skill level and abilities.

Following “Cinderella,” students will perform a wide variety of other dance styles offered by DALA. These include Scottish Highland, taught by Marion Langan, all levels of modern dance, taught by Anita Gandy and Erica Gionfriddo, tap, which Valerie Silks and Patrick MacDonald instruct, choreography and performance classes taught by Anita Gandy, and hip-hop. The very youngest ballet students in DALA, taught by Valerie Silks, will also present a “Fantasy Suite.”  The finale of the performance will feature Manny Romero and friends from Unique Souls, Santa Fe. Romero has taught a mixed-age hip- hop class this semester and will perform with his fellow dancers from Unique Souls, together with the DALA hip-hop students.

Although the spring recital marks the end of the teaching semester, DALA has a full summer schedule of classes for dancers of all levels and ages.  During the weeks of June 7-18, intermediate and advanced dancers will have the opportunity to participate in an intensive that includes ballet technique, pointe, partnering, modern dance, yoga, hip-hop and musical theater.

Guest instructor Aaron Severini, formerly of the New York City Ballet, and Christin Severini will teach ballet, pointe and partnering. Melissa Briggs, Romero and MacDonald will also be on the faculty for the intensive program.

Andrew Silks will offer a special Ballet Boot Camp just for boys ages 7 and older, June 7-18. Younger dancers will have an intensive specifically designed for their age and technical level from June 21-July 2.

Christin Severini, who is also an American Ballet Theatre certified teacher, will be the instructor. Valerie Silks will teach a weeklong workshop for young dancers ages 4-7 that will include ballet technique, stories, and choreography.

Intermediate and advanced ballet, yoga for all ages and modern dance will be offered on a weekly basis in July. For more detailed information about DALA’s summer programs, please visit the Web site www.danceartslosalamos.org.