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Detroit All-City Dance Concert Celebrates 70 Years, Will Highlight Students' Modern Dance Skills

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For 70 years, Detroit students have been gliding and spinning together in the annual All-City Dance Concert. This Thursday evening, the spring tradition sponsored by Detroit Public Schools will give students an opportunity to demonstrate their skills, exhibiting a wide variety of modern dance moves.

This year's event will involve about 150 students from seven Detroit schools, including Cass Technical High School, Detroit School of Arts High School, Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, J. R. King Academy, Ivan Ludington Magnet Middle School, Renaissance High School and Spain Elementary-Middle School. DPS expects a packed house.

Tony Smith is a dance teacher at Cass Tech and helps prepare students for the annual event. He said the choreography is a mix of student, teacher and professionally orchestrated performances with moves similar to those one might see at a performance of the Paul Taylor Dance Company or the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which happens to be in town this weekend.

According to Smith, students have prepared throughout the year for the concert, and the dancers had to pass through a DPS audition process. Smith told The Huffington Post he finds the dance program valuable not only because it teaches students creative movement, but because it engage them in a wide variety of disciplines, including science, mathematics, reasoning and logic.

"We cover terms like trajectory and speed and dynamics, and, of course, we talk about different tempos -- adding, multiplying and dividing," he said. "We're picking apart, assimilating and redistributing different concepts. Students are constantly using higher-level thinking skills."

The DPS dance program predates the annual concert, and many of its alumni have gone on to make waves in the dance world. Cass Tech graduate Edgar Page currently dances in the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance company. Other DPS dance program success stories include Kendra Ross, a dancer with the Urban Bush Women and Dujuan Smart who performed on "So You Think You Can Dance."

Detroit Public Schools' 70th All-City Dance Concert will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 29 at the Detroit School of Arts High School, 123 Selden St., Detroit.

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