Dot kids learn dance from pros at BU summer program

By 
Jeanette Origel, Special to the Reporter
Jul. 17, 2014

Three Dorchester teens are part of Boston University’s summertime Reach Program, an opportunity for dancers to perform alongside professionals as they are trained in dance and choreography. The coveted teen apprentice spots must be won through an audition process, which gives the teens a chance to study dance for three weeks of intense daily class and rehearsal with older mentors.

The program includes a summer tour that includes 11 performances and 30 workshops aimed at bringing dance workshops to city kids at local camps and community centers in the Greater Boston area.

Rashunda Webb, of Codman Square, is among the 15 teens taking part in Reach. Webb, 17, attends Belmont High School and has been dancing since the age of 4. LeBaron Christian, 12, attends Academy of the Pacific Rim. He has been dancing ever since he can remember, but began taking dance classes in second grade at his elementary school.
Christian also enjoys acting and performed in the Urban Nutcracker three times. He now also serves on the board of the Tony Williams Dance Center helping to make decisions for the school. When he is not dancing he is playing basketball as a point guard for the Academy of the Pacific Rim Dragons.

“It is instructional, but it’s also about community service,” said Micki Taylor-Penny, Boston University Director of Dance for the past 29 years. “They are providing a service, they are going into different communities and performing for kids and also teaching workshops.”

Join Reach’s intergenerational dance company on Wed., July 23, (rain date: July 30), at 7 p.m. as they present a free 45-minute performance at the Bishop Allen Drive parking lot at the corner of Columbia Street in Cambridge. The performance will showcase the diversity of the individual teen apprentices’ training as well as their ethnic and social backgrounds. For more information, visit bu.edu/fitrec/programs/dance/reach/ or call 617-353-1597.