Local dance company to hold Youth Arts Night

Jan. 7, 2009, midnight | By Anika Manzoor | 11 years, 8 months ago

Many Blazers set to perform on Jan. 11

The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, a nonprofit organization based in Takoma Park, will present their second annual Youth Arts Night on Sunday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 p.m. The event will feature performances from the dance company's own Teen Exchange and a variety of young talents in the area, including senior singer-songwriter Tori Heller and all-senior air band Action Jackson and the Go-Getters.

Photo: Teen Exchange performed a dance about dreams last year at Baltimore's Center Stage. Picture courtesy of Eliza Wapner.

The event is hosted by the Teen Exchange, a youth-led group within the Dance Exchange umbrella organization that focuses on creating dance routines that symbolize certain aspects of their lives, according to communications manager Ben Eiserike. "They look at issues that pertain to their lives and translate that to artistic medium," Eiserike said.

Although Teen Exchange has booked artists prior to the show, the event is an open mic, allowing any interested audience members to perform. The set list generally includes song, dance and spoken word acts. Each set is limited to five to 10 minutes, according to junior Rebecca Guterman, a Teen Exchange youth leader.

The goal of the Dance Exchange is to "bring community groups together to experience the expressive power of dance and explore important issues through movement and story" by forming residency programs throughout the world, according to its web site. The program aims to involve people of all demographics in the art of dance, regardless of physical disability and other impairments. "Our theme is, 'Everyone can dance,' " Eiserike said. Teen Exchange hopes that the Youth Arts Night would help instill a passion for the arts in the teen community, according to Guterman. "Anything to do with involving the community is central to our cause," she said.

Members of Teen Exchange will present a dance on a topic they are currently analyzing, as they do every year. This year, Teen Exchange's project is "(be)longing(s)," according to Teen Exchange members freshmen Carina Zox and Eliza Wapner. "We're looking at the four separate parts of the word," Wapner said. "Being yourself, the feeling of 'belonging,' longing and physical belongings and how they define us."

The event last year was a success and the group has high hopes for January, according to Zox. "It was really great," she said. "This one is going to be a lot bigger."

The event is free, but donations are encouraged. The event is targeted primarily at students.

Editor's note: Rebecca Guterman is a page editor for Silver Chips.

Anika Manzoor. Although she may look like a cute and innocent freshman, Anika is actually a SENIOR(!!), who kicks butts and takes names on a daily basis. But otherwise she's very friendly with a sunny disposition and a constant snarl - er smile on her face =D … More »

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