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Monday, July 9, 2012 - Page updated at 05:00 a.m.

Around the world with 'DANCE This'

By Michael Upchurch
Seattle Times arts writer

Every kind of dance — from modern and hip-hop to the traditional fare of Asia and Africa — will be on display at Seattle Theatre Group's annual DANCE This showcase.

DANCE This gives local youth and young adults ages 13 to 22 a chance to perform in a globe-hopping array of styles with dance professionals. This year's headliner is Broadway singer-dancer Danny Soto, who'll stage and perform in "Zombie," a high-energy excerpt from Bill T. Jones' Tony Award-winning "Fela!"

For Soto, his appearance here marks a homecoming. He took part in DANCE This as a teenager himself, before launching his showbiz career, notably as an ensemble member in "Fela!" as well as the musical's assistant dance captain. Get ready for some Broadway hoofin' with an Afro beat.

Among local choreographers setting new work on young dancers are Mark Haim, Aaron Gordon and Daniel Cruz, while Gansango Music & Dance (Africa) and Âu Laòc Vovinam Lion Dance Team (Vietnam) should add some colorful international flavor to the festivities. Tibetan and Chinese fare is also on the program.

Note: Spectrum Dance Theater dancers Donald Jones Jr., Jade Solomon Curtis, Amber Nicole Mayberry, Jeroboam Bozeman and Spectrum apprentice Jovian Fry will be featured in both "Zombie" and Gansango's "African Passages."

In other dance news, Seattle's DASSdance premieres "Untitled, 1982" on Saturday. This new work by DASSdance artistic director Daniel Wilkins was inspired by Wilkins' years in New York, specifically the art scene centered on Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The show takes the form of "a multimedia-art installation that transports audience members into a world of reflection, ingenuity, and pronounced gritty expressionism."

Michael Upchurch: mupchurch@seattletimes.com

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