Dance is perhaps the most fragile mode of performance – at its highest levels impossible without years of total immersion, and even then at the mercy of bodily changes, injury, nerves, even the texture of the floor. It is rare and humbling to see dance, the living art, manifested so exquisitely through such young artists.
The Edge Performing Arts Center, the West Coast’s premier academy of dance, awards scholarships each year to twenty talented teenagers. The program is grueling, with the students dancing up to sixty hours a week. Over the course of their study, they are exposed to the traditional foundation of ballet, tap, and jazz, and then styles as diverse as hip-hop, hula, and gymnastics. The resulting graduate is a kind of über-dancer, a hyper-sensitive, beautifully physical being – unparalleled in ability to transpose the most sophisticated emotional states into movement. As a result, the program has a 100% success rate in placing Edge alumni in professional careers.
The students’ graduation is marked by a closing dance program, an extraordinary display of explosive choreography and technical prowess. Industry professionals religiously attend the event, as it presents an opportunity to view the latest available talent in the dance world.
This year’s show, entitled Snapshot (for the clever use of still photography to introduce a piece’s theme), played from July 22-24 at the glorious Nate Holden Theater. Audiences were treated to a jaw-dropping showcase worthy of Broadway – vibrant, moving, and comedic dance numbers dealing with themes as primal as lust, desire, love, longing, and pain.
Producer Bill Prudich and his staff have again demonstrated that the Edge Performing Arts Center sets the standard of excellence in dance instruction and performance.