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YHS dance program honors Michael Jackson
Could there be a better way to banish winter doldrums than dancing the blues away?
After a week's postponement because of inclement weather the Yuma High School dance program has rescheduled an ambitious program that doesn't skip a beat despite the delayed performance. Friday's show will cover a variety of genres during the first half of a performance that includes jazz, modern, hip hop, lyrical, and contemporary said Tami White, director of the dance program.
"We have a guest artist, Monica Ramirez. She was a former student of mine when I taught at Kofa for a couple of years."
Ramirez is now dancing for a professional company in Los Angeles. She has choreographed the showcase piece of the evening, the "Smooth Criminals," White noted.
"I got 30 dancers in that one. I even have Yuma High's own version of Michael Jackson- Jason Lopez."
Lopez is a 14-year old freshman who is like "a little sponge," White said. Jason is eager to learn anything that is thrown at him, she added.
"He cant' get enough dance. Not only is he developing technically as a dancer he's becoming a gifted choreographer as well."
Although one of the younger students in the program, Jason shows a lot of promise for leadership and he is well-liked by other students, White said.
Jason, who is featured throughout the production says dance is really fun and Michael Jackson is an inspiration to many of the students.
"Dance is my main thing to do. It's mostly my life. And we hope we can get through to the audience our admiration for Michael's music and they can appreciate his and our artistry."
The focus of the program's finale kicks into high gear with "Thriller" the music of Michael Jackson where all 80 dancers get to run through the paces of his "zombie dance" in a grove with the seminal pop album, said White.
"The kids like it because they get to dress like the dead. And this is the second year we've had a winter showcase where the entire program was student-choreographed."
Audri Daniel, 16, a junior, said the program is not just dancing but theatrical dancing that allows them the freedom to put a lot of themselves into the production.
"I've been doing dance since I was 4. It's a good way to stay active while putting in your own expression. I'm hoping the audience will take away a little piece of Michael (Jackson) because we are really trying to stay true to him."
Proceeds from all concession sales will be donated to the Haitian earthquake victims. Tickets, available at the door, are $5 each for the hour and a half program that begins at 7 p.m. at Snider Auditorium.
White urges everyone to come out and support the dance concert as the students have been working so hard to show off their talents and pay tribute to Michael Jackson, she noted.
"I can tell you, everybody will be thoroughly entertained."
William Roller can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6858.