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Gotta Dance!

Reach program performs tonight in Cambridge

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An asphalt parking lot behind the Harvest Cooperative Market in Cambridge’s Central Square will be transformed into an outdoor dance studio tonight when 15 teenagers gracefully split the air with their jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and Haitian dance moves.

The event is one of nearly a dozen free performances and 30 workshops performed by youth enrolled in Reach, BU’s five-week program in dance and choreography for urban and suburban teens. The 45-minute event begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Reach brings together teens from inner-city Boston and communities like Winchester, Newton, and Brookline to work with professionals and dance interns for five weeks during the summer. The highlight is a two-week performance tour through communities, including Cambridge, East Boston, Chelsea, and Somerville. While the program teaches participants the artistry and discipline associated with dance, it also instills in them the importance of maintaining good health and the value of working together across ethnic and economic lines.

“There is such a youthful exuberance that is demonstrated by these teens doing something that is really healthy—physically and psychologically,” says Micki Taylor-Pinney, dance program director for the University’s Department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. Taylor-Pinney says she loves seeing how the teenagers’ collaboration fosters a family-like bond among troupe members. “We talk a lot about building community and working together. I think it’s a great way for them to see how they can work with diverse populations to create this ensemble.”

Reach was founded 22 years ago by The Dance Collective, a contemporary dance troupe. Taylor-Pinney, the company’s artistic director, moved the program to BU in 2006 when the nonprofit disbanded. Reach has been a core part of the University’s summer programming ever since.

Taylor-Pinney advises tonight’s audience members to bring their lawn chairs, blankets, and dancing shoes. She promises that Reach teens won’t be the only ones busting a move in the parking lot.

Reach will perform at 7 p.m. tonight at the Bishop Allen Drive parking lot behind the Harvest Cooperative Market at 533 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. The event is free and open to the public. Take the MBTA’s Red Line to Central Square and exit onto Massachusetts Avenue.

For more information about Reach, contact Micki Taylor-Pinney at budance@bu.edu

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Leslie Friday, BU Today, Boston University
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