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Last Saturday at the historic Lincoln Theater on U Street, CityDance Ensemble and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities presented its awe-inspiring DREAM Celebration! In partnership with internationally renowned dancer and producer Rasta Thomas, the evening celebrated America’s top dance stars while raising awareness for CityDance’s unique DREAM program to “empower over 150 students to discover and harness the power of their dreams” through dance. An evening of ballet, contemporary, and hip-hop, it was a performance that filled you with energy and admiration for the dancers and DREAM instructors who have dedicated their time to changing young lives through movement. Dancing-meets-the-stars brought to U Street to benefit this city’s youth. All proceeds to benefit CityDance’s free after-school DREAM program.

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The show opened with famed dancer Rasta Thomas, a Washington, DC, native who founded the acclaimed Bad Boys of Dance (BBD), a superstar dance company that’s performed in over 20 countries, on Broadway, and hit TV shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” Thomas set the stage with a pop-inspired rendition of Rimsky Korsakov’s the Bumblebee–a classical piece transformed into a star-studded performance with both hip-hop and ballet elements. Thomas was followed by New York tap phenom Michelle Dorrance and contemporary/hip-hop dancer Mishay Petronelli’s excerpt from “Two to One.” An imaginative piece of choreography melding tap and contemporary, and musical finesse. DC native and guest tap dancer Cartier Williams brought his own magic to tap with his solo, “Hoofing,” which was as honest and imaginative as Dorrance and Petronelli’s “Two to One.”

CityDance continued to impress its audience (and inspire its young DREAM students) with performances from the charismatic Lombard Twins, Argentinian twins and dancing sensations Martin and Facundo Lombard who embrace their artistic talent and brotherly love (hugging and high-fiving one another throughout their two acts) through Free Expression dancing, a form of movement the brothers developed themselves. “It’s just expressing your real feelings through moves, no style, no rules,” says Martin. The Lombard Twins danced side-by-side classical ballet and contemporary dancers from Orlando Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, North Carolina Dance Theatre, BalletX, and the Washington Ballet.

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The DREAM celebration featured a diverse array of partnering from Concerto Six Twenty Two (1986), a compelling adagio between two male leads, to the famous Don Quixote Grand Pas de Deux. Orlando Ballet’s Areum Chung dazzled in the company’s rendition of the Carmen Pas de Deux; Chung seduced partner David Kiyak with her long legs and impeccable technique. The Lar Lubovitch Dance Company’s Attila Joey Csiki and Clifton Brown in “Concerto,” BalletX’s William Cannon and Chloe Felesina and the North Carolina Dance Theatre’s Anna Gerberich and Fredrick Pete Walker II shared intimate performances from their respected companies contemporary repertoires.

An incredible evening of dance! The DREAM celebration ended with an inspiring finale featuring the CityDance conservatory students and DREAM students on stage with ALL the guest artists (queu Urchins remix!). Their DREAM dancers displayed remarkable talent, particularly CityDance’s conservatory student fourteen year-old Larisa Nugent, a youth American Gran Prix winner, who beautifully executed the Aurora Variation from Sleeping Beauty and held her own on stage with professional artists from around-the-world. For more information on CityDance’s DREAM program visit www.citydance.net/dream.

Each year CityDance empowers over 150 students to discover and harness the power of their dreams through a unique curriculum that is built upon the principles of Positive Youth Development, which emphasizes focusing on youths’ strengths to build the skills necessary for their future success.  DREAM instructors use this practice to engage students with dance in order to foster teamwork, community engagement and instill confidence in their ability to succeed. Click here for a complete list of DREAM schools.

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