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A ‘Spectrum’ of dance

Six talented guest choreographers have united with the Laguna Beach High School dance department to help deliver its most colorful and eclectic performance yet.

“Spectrum,” an array of dance routines led by Director Lisa Jay, premieres at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Artists Theatre, and will run through Saturday.

“The title refers to the variety that eight choreographers bring to the show,” Jay said. “They’re all very creative in their different styles.”

Now in her second year and directing her fourth dance performance at the high school, Jay was joined by her assistant choreographer, Danielle Pigneri; Tracey Bonner; Andrew Pearson; Darrien Henning, of the Millennium Dance Complex in North Hollywood, who also works with touring artists; assistant to world-renowned dancer Donald McKayle, Amy Sennett; Melanie A. King, and Erika Fernandez.

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“Thanks to the school district’s support of the arts, we were able to bring in these talented dancers, which is very rare at the high school level,” she said.

The routines explore jazz, ballet, modern dance, hip-hop, and jazz with Latin and swing overtones, and are set to an assortment of music by popular artists including Blue October, Amy Winehouse and Mozart.

The blend of music, light effects and costumes — from baggy sweats to neon tutus to sassy Latin ensembles — set the mood for each routine.

Crystal Pittman, a junior who has focused on ballet and modern dance since middle school and who will perform in a modern, ballet and lyrical piece, said she was most attracted to the diversity of the show.

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“I wanted to work with different groups of choreographers and the different types of dance they each brought,” she said. “Dancing is a great way to express myself, and it’s fun to be able to do so many different kinds.”

Senior Moreah Arthur, who has been involved with many styles of dance since age 4 and will perform a modern, lyrical and Latin dance piece, said she was also excited about the variety in routines.

“I like the diversity of the dances I’m in and think it’s especially cool to be able to work with outside choreographers with such different styles,” she said. “It’s been really fun.”

Jay said she is ecstatic to be working with such a talented group of young dancers, who are so open to learning.

“They were also open to my idea of donating ticket proceeds to a cause, which shows what great kids they are,” she said.

Three dollars for every ticket sold will benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research.

“I was so inspired by Fox’s books,” Jay said. “I wanted to help out in some way and was so excited that my students were all for it.”



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