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Local youngsters prove 'The Valley Can Dance'

Sunnyside High School Drama Advisor Corey Murphy recognizes talent when he sees it.

This year he and students in the SHS drama club are organizing the third annual "The Valley Can Dance" competition set to be staged next Friday, April 27, a fundraiser that benefits the drama club.

Murphy said he came up with the idea after seeing the talent some of his drama students have.

"I had a couple of students in drama who were good in hip-hop, but they didn't really have the opportunity to showcase those skills in the drama program," he said.

That's how the teacher came up with the idea of organizing a dance competition.

Murphy said the competition serves more than one purpose. It provides additional funding for the drama program and it provides the community an opportunity to see the talent many students in the Yakima Valley possess, "...specifically SHS."

He said there are several dance studios throughout the valley. However, the community doesn't often have the opportunity to see those students compete because the competitions are held elsewhere.

"The Valley Can Dance" changes that, according to Murphy.

The annual competition doesn't just provide students from the various studios an opportunity to compete. Youngsters without formal training also compete in "The Valley Can Dance."

Murphy envisioned a competition that highlights the various skills of dancers. He noticed, however, there was an element missing due to the response of audience members.

He said a duet performed one year was not technical. The audience was moved by the performance, but the dancers didn't receive recognition from the judge because there were technical mistakes.

As a result, Murphy has added a non-studio category for dancers who are talented, but not trained.

This year's competition will feature dancers from Martin's School of Dance in Sunnyside, Footlights from Selah and students from studios in Prosser and Zillah.

"There will be 25 studio performances," said Murphy, adding there will be 12 routines in the non-studio category.

He said the audience attending "The Valley Can Dance" will be entertained for approximately three hours.

"There will be a variety of entertaining performances," said Murphy, stating routines will include hip-hop, jazz, ballet, clog, tap and contemporary dance styles.

Admission to the show is $5, and Murphy said this year's judges will not be from local studios.

"I want to grow the competition and the judges won't have any dancers on the stage," said Murphy, stating impartial judging is important.

The curtain rises on the competition at 7 p.m. next Friday in the Sunnyside High School auditorium.

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