Walla Walla summer festival leaps into dance

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— The 2012 Walla Walla Summer Dance Festival will “Leap Into Dance” Saturday, starting a weeklong celebration of the art.

A series of community events will culminate on July 27 with a Grand Festival Performance featuring visiting performers from Oregon, Seattle and New York City.

This season marks the second year of the Summer Dance Festival, in partnership with Whitman College.

The event has drawn the talents of the Oregon Ballet Theatre, a contemporary ballet troupe, performing along side the cutting-edge hip-hop company Cruz Control of Seattle, and the John Passafiume Dancers of New York City.

Indeed, a core mission of the Dance Festival is to present professional dancers and dance styles from the Northwest and across the country.

Each season, the festival seeks to highlight different dance styles, performed by both established and up-and-coming companies looking to feature new talents in choreography.

Walla Walla Summer Dance Festival is an outgrowth of the Summer Dance Lab at Whitman College for advanced dance students.

As part of this year’s festival, the professional dancers will hold master dance classes with the dance lab students.

Next week’s Grand Festival Performance will feature the Oregon Ballet Theatre’s take on Cole Porter, the energized hip-hop of Cruz Control and The John Passafiume Dancers premiering a commissioned piece by Passafiume set to the third movement of Beethoven’s “String Quartet in A Minor.”

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