Shake it, stomp it, tap it: Global Dance Party coming to Orcas Center

It’s called Global Dance Party for good reason.

More than 60 teen performers are coming to the Orcas Center stage for dance segments that are rooted in Mexican, Irish, Indian and African culture. There will also be modern, hip hop, and tap dance routines as well as R&B vocal numbers.

Global Dance Party is a culmination of the “DANCE This” project hosted by Seattle Theatre Group. The program intensive training in Seattle and Port Townsend for dancers age 13 to 22, from diverse communities and backgrounds.

“The unique and fun thing is the collaborative nature of it,” said Vicky Lee, Director of Education and Performance Programs for Seattle Theatre Group. “We’re bringing a culturally diverse group and a contemporary group under one program. They are very serious young artists who will probably make a career in dance one day. The quality of the performances is one of the strengths of the show.”

Orcas Island’s Sabina Smith-Moreland, who participated in the program last summer, said it was a life-changing experience.

“I made some great friends, and I wouldn’t be the same dancer now if I hadn’t done the program,” she said.

Among the performers for Global Dance Party are the EriAm Sisters, who were finalists on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” The pop sister trio from Renton have their sights set on becoming the next Destiny’s Child. Salina and Lianda Abraham are both in high school; their younger sister Haben is in middle school. The group’s name reflects the international aspect of their musical journey – “EriAm” stands for Eritrean-American.

Other artists are Nick and Anna Golla with Westlake and Premier Dance Centers (hip hop), The Gothard Sisters (Irish fiddle and dance), Joyas Mestizas dance group (Mexican folk) Charlotte Newman (modern), Northwest Tap Connection (tap/step), Step Afrika! and Sukutai Music and Dance Ensemble (African boot dance/step), Urvasi Dance Ensemble, Junior Company (Odissi classical Indian, and UW Zeta Phi Beta Sorority (step).

Orcas Center will present Global Dance Party at 6 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27. Tickets are $17, $13 for Orcas Center members, and $9 for students. Tickets can be purchased at Orcas Center or by calling 376-2281.

“These are mainly teenage and college performers, so this is great for families,” Lee said. “It’s a positive, fun show.”

Visiting dancers to teach students and adults

As part of the Orcas Arts Education Project, which currently provides dance education to all public school students in grades K-8, two of the Global Dance Party performers will teach in the schools on Friday, Feb. 26. Hip hop will be taught to students in grades five to eight, and African step dance will be taught to students in grades three and four. Each elementary and middle school student participating will be eligible to receive a free ticket to one of the Saturday shows.

The visiting teaching artists, Bryan Asuncion (hip hop) and Siya Manyakanyaka Kelly (African step) will also teach classes on Friday evening for teens and adults at the OffCenter Stage: hip hop is at 5:30 p.m. and African step is at 6:30 p.m. The fee is $10 per class or $15 for both classes.