Fusion Dance Company

Hip-hop, as a dance form, is not exactly new on the scene, yet it always seems to have that fresh, lively feel. Whether you’re polishing your pop and lock or have barely gotten jiggy with it, here is something for all enthusiasts of the style. Fusion Dance Company, one of Santa Barbara’s newest, hip-hoppiest dance collectives, is offering its second annual Hip-Hop Summer Intensive from Monday, August 11, through Friday, August 15, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Montecito School of Ballet (529 E. Gutierrez St). Founded in 2004, Fusion favors hip-hop but performs all different styles of dance around town, frequenting a number of S.B. festivals and benefits. They also produce their own annual show at the Center Stage Theater. (Look for it in May 2009.) To reserve space in the Intensive, call artistic director Kara Stewart at 252-3753 or email fusion04@cox.net. Here are five reasons to sign up now.

1) Big-time teachers: Misty Rascon-Smith (The Edge Dance Company) and Rick Ligon, from L.A., have collectively worked with Britney Spears, Omarion, Christina Aguilera, Ashley Tisdale, 3LW, Outkast, Kirk Franklin, and Snoop Dogg. Meanwhile, Shannon Abero, originally from L.A., has recently relocated to S.B. and is currently running the Everybody Dance Now hip-hop program. Cayla De Waters, originally from Washington, teaches both hip-hop classes and a BodyFlow class, which incorporates pilates, yoga, and Tai Chi.

2) It’s affordable: At $200 for the entire weeklong session, that breaks down to less than $10 per hour for top-notch professional instruction, far less than you would normally expect to pay.

3) You get to put on a show: After working hard all week, on Friday afternoon, participants will get to show off the fruits of their labors to an audience of family and friends in a small but power-packed performance.

4) Dance with the village: While the session is geared for ages 12-adult, kids 8-11 will be accepted if they are mature enough to train at a high level, which will make for a multi-generational melting pot of dancers. But that certainly doesn’t mean you have to have all the right moves. “Last year, even people who hadn’t had a lot of experience with hip-hop came and enjoyed it,” Stewart explained.

5) You want it now: “You can learn hiphop quicker than a lot of other kinds of dance,” Stewart said. “In all honesty, it’s the one dance form where you can get away with not taking ballet first. It’s a different kind of discipline. Our fast-paced world is like that. We want everything now.”


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