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OCC Student Dance Concert Puts Spotlight on Student Choreographers
Monday, April 7, 2014

The Orange Coast College Annual Student Dance Concert will showcase the talents of nine student choreographers and dozens of student dancers in performances on Friday and Saturday, April 25 and 26, at 8:00 p.m. in the Robert B. Moore Theatre.

“OCC dance students have been working tirelessly on this annual production,” said Linda Sohl-Ellison, professor of dance who is directing the concert with dance faculty Amelie Hunter and Jeff Mayor. Choreography also includes works by OCC dance faculty Jose Costas and Shana Menaker.

Advance tickets are on sale for $10 at the OCC Bursar’s Office, (714) 432-5880, or online at Tickets will be $15 at the door.

Danced entirely by OCC students, the program features a wide range of dance styles including modern dance, ballet, tap, hip hop, Bollywood, Vietnamese and Pakistani dance exploring a variety of themes and music styles.

Menaker’s piece, “Chego de Saudade,” features music by Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla and Brazilian-born Antonio Carlos Jobim. Menaker worked with 12 student dancers who also improvised some of the choreography.

International influences also impact “Jash-e-Bahar,” a Bhangra style of dance from the Punjab region between India and Pakistan choreographed by student Zia Hussain, a native of Pakistan. His brother, Raza Hussain, composed original music for the piece.

Hussain, who lives in Costa Mesa, is taking classes in hotel and management along with dance, which has been a large part of his life. He has traveled extensively in the Middle East and Europe and taught dance in the Netherlands, where he lived for five years. In his second semester at OCC, Hussain said he is “enjoying the best time of my life. OCC has amazing teachers” in both dance and hospitality, he added.

Eight student dancers perform in Evona Markanian’s dance, “Night at the Club.” “I just wanted to choreograph a fun, up-beat number where people in the audience can sing along to the music and dance in their seats.” Markanian is majoring in dance and psychology; she hopes to become a dance therapist.

Student choreographer Sara Hong dedicated her dance, “Near Light,” to her grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. “It’s about the journey of two people who have this disease as they get closer and closer to the ‘light,’” she explained. Hong lives in Fountain Valley.

Women’s rights and the role of women in the work force during World War II inspired Alanna Girardi’s tap dance, “We Can Do It,” the slogan from the Rosie the Riveter posters. Four tappers, including Costa Mesa resident Girardi, will perform to “Seven Nation Army” music by Holly Henry.

“80’s Ol’ Skool” is a solo hip-hop work performed by student choreographer Max Gomez, who lives in Newport Beach. The dance, which was inspired by the classic hip-hop dance battles out on the streets in the 1980s, include “popping, locking, tutting, waving, and a little bit of breaking dance movements,” said Gomez, who hopes to become a professional hip-hop dance choreographer.

Jasmine Mosher created a work for three dancers entitled “Grasping…”. The Santa Ana resident incorporates modern dance with a twist of funk and contemporary styles.

“Silk” is the title of a dance by Richard Vazquez, who dances with two other students in a piece that employs tall silk flags as props. The dancers move gracefully through the air “as if we were silks ourselves,” said Vazquez, who lives in Huntington Beach.

What: OCC Student Dance Concert

When: Friday and Saturday, April 25 & April 26
8:00 p.m.

Where: Orange Coast College Robert B. Moore Theatre
2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa

Admission: $10 in Advance, OCC Bursar’s Office, (714) 432-5880, ext 1
$15 at the door

Parking: Campus parking is free on weekends

Contact: Juan Gutierrez, OCC Communications & Marketing
Linda Sohl-Ellison, Concert Director
(714) 432-5506

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Orange Coast College, founded in 1947, is one of the nation's top transfer schools. With a student population of 22,000, OCC provides exemplary programs leading to Associate degrees and 145 career programs. The college's 164-acre campus is located in the heart of Costa Mesa.

Orange Coast College's Dance Department, founded in 1962, enjoys a national reputation for quality, creativity and a comprehensive curriculum with instruction in a variety of dance styles for all levels of students. Faculty members include acclaimed performing artists and choreographers recognized by major arts organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts and California Arts Council.