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On the Verge With a New Generation of Dance

The Santa Barbara Dance Alliance will showcase the work of pre-professional teen choreographers and technical theater students.

The next generation of artists brings its visions to life in On The Verge: Teen Choreographers’ Showcase, the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance’s showcase for teen choreographers at 8 p.m. May 31 at the Marjorie Luke Theater, 721 E. Cota St.

Fifteen teens will present original works performed by young dancers with lighting and costumes designed by young designers. Many of the choreographers, ages 12 to 19, are already veteran performers and scholarship winners. They come from local schools and dance studios, including San Marcos High School, Nordhoff High School in Ojai, Westmont College, Santa Barbara Dance Arts, 14K Jules Dance, Cruz Studio of Dance, Gustafson School of Ballet and UC Santa Barbara.

The showcase features a diverse mix of dance styles ranging from flamenco, hip-hop, modern and classical ballet.  Seventeen carefully mentored pieces will be performed, all from the unique perspectives of these emerging artists.  Robin Zelko and Taylor Fisher have created a contemporary duet about their investigations into the freedom of sexual identity.  Another youthful point of view comes from Tenaya Cowsill in her modern solo about finding the strength to acknowledge personal accomplishments and goals.  Daniela Zermeno, who has performed in all 13 showcases, will bring her high-spirited flamenco style to the stage for her final choreographic work.

Year after year, the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance watches the teens mature in their choreography as they return to be part of the showcase. They go on to university dance departments, become professional dancers, and many return to Santa Barbara to teach.

This year’s mentors, Rose Marie Cruz, Kim Hoj, Julie Rubio Shamblim, Nancy Colahan, Shannon Abero, Nicole Helton, Heather Shea, Brooke Preston, Pam Lappen, Timothy Farley, Lisa Abshere, Briseyda Zarate and Vicki Finlayson, are all well-known Santa Barbara teachers and performers and have provided professional guidance for the young artists.

On The Verge is presented by the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance and is supported by the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, Santa Barbara City Parks & Recreation, Santa Barbara City Teen Programs, the Towbes Foundation, the Wood Claeyssens Foundation, the Ann Jackson Foundation, the Mary Stauffer Foundation, the Hutton Foundation, Montecito Bank & Trust, Margo and Robert Feinberg, and Venoco Inc.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for alliance members, $10 for students and seniors, and $50 for patrons. Tickets are available at or by calling the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance at 805.966.6950.

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