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A former soloist and ballet mistress with Houston Ballet, Martine Harley has been appointed the artistic director of California’s Westside School of Ballet and its pre-professional company, Westside Ballet of Santa Monica. Harley is replacing the school’s late founding artistic director, Yvonne Mounsey, a former New York City Ballet principal who established Westside in 1967 (see “Transitions,” Dec. 2012). The school boasts an impressive list of alumni, including Andrew and Francis Veyette, Jock Soto, and Kim Craven, as well as Harley, a southern California native who trained at Westside before beginning her professional career with Nevada Dance Theater. See www.westsideballet.com.
On May 11, the Seattle Youth Dance Collective will debut student-created work in performance at the Velocity Founders Theater. It’s the second showcase by SYDC, a program initiated in 2012 by Velocity Dance Center and Seattle Theatre Group. For the last three months, the students, ages 15 to 18, have attended weekly choreography workshops, guided by teaching artists Amy O’Neal and Maya Soto. Past sessions have featured KT Niehoff, Patricia Lent, and Donald Byrd. See www.velocitydancecenter.org.
Philadelphia-based Rock School for Dance Education turns 50 this year, celebrating its golden anniversary with a star-studded gala on May 3. It’s held at the Independence Seaport Museum, and guest performers include Rock School alumni Michaela DePrince (of Dance Theatre of Harlem), Beckanne Sisk (of Ballet West), Taylor Stanley (of New York City Ballet), and Christine Shevchenko (of American Ballet Theatre). See www.therockschool.org.