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Harlem School of the Arts celebrates dance

By TRUDY TOMLINSON | 7/11/2013, 1:50 p.m. | Updated on 7/11/2013, 1:50 p.m.

Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) dance students took the stage in their annual end of the year concert in celebration of the dance department on June 13.

The concert, which took place at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, ranged in performances from ballet to tap, hip-hop, modern and African dances, with the performers being 17 years old and younger. These young performers showcased the diversity of the art forms within the dance program at HSA with a riveting, well-performed and well-choreographed performance.

“Our dancers really danced tonight and they looked professional,” said Yvette L. Campbell, president and CEO of HSA. “If you want your kids to perform and really be dancers, this is where they need to come.

“Two dancers are on tour right now with ‘The Lion King’ Broadway performance, so we create those who can sing, dance and act,” added Campbell.

A duet from Complexions Contemporary Ballet, choreographer and Artist-in-Residence Christopher L. Huggins was one of the evening’s highlight. Dancers from Complexions performed an excerpt from “Testament.”

Aubrey Lynch, the second dance director at HAS, was very proud of the onstage performance of his students. “Sometimes you have to have high ideals but low expectations. Tonight’s performance went beyond my wildest imagination. These children are not professionals, but tonight they behaved like a professional company and that was impressive.”

Lynch, who has been working with HSA for the past two years, is a former dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and original cast member and associate producer of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “The Lion King.”

“Discipline is the number one key throughout your life,” said Naya Lovell, 14, who performed in seven of the 15 performances that night. Lovell, who is now a freshman, has been dancing at HSA since she was 9 years of age. “Musical arts have brought together my school and everything else. I’m just glad to still be here at HSA under the guidance of Mr. Lynch because he really is amazing.”

Concluding the evening’s program, HSA proudly honored their graduating seniors with a recognition ceremony onstage.

“I am extraordinarily proud of each and every single dance student of the Harlem School of the Arts,” Campbell told the crowd.

Seniors were rewarded with certificates of recognitions after being honored by Campbell. “Please take the arts with you wherever you go and may it enrich the rest of your lives,” said Campbell to the group of seniors.

HSA will be starting its summer camp July 8. It is the cheapest camp in the city, starting at $350 a week for a full-day camp.