UPCA presents its inaugural “Danza Debuts,” a program that features emerging choreographers who create original works in our new studios then debut it on the United Palace stage. The two choreographers are Virgil Gadson, a top 4 finalist on “So You Think You Can Dance?” Season 12 and an original cast member of UPCA's “The Hip Hop Nutcracker,” and Cassie Nordgren, who curated our “Danza Highbridge” festival last year.
Kicking off the program will be a performance by students from Dance Project of Washington Heights, the nonprofit that holds over 30 dance classes a week at the United Palace, led by Gentry.
The evening features:
THE LAST BITE
As the only two singles at a wedding reception full of couples, Alicia and Katie meet at the bar and become instant friends. When the pressure to justify their "solo" status to their friends and family grows, the women begin to question their own definition of happiness. Told entirely thru dance, this comedic piece is a serendipitous journey that challenges the social norms. Centered around two women struggling to define their own journey amidst the pressures of society, "The Last Bite" is a charming story full of unexpected twists and turns proving that happiness can be found where you least expect it. Choreographed by Cassie Nordgren of ThruLines.
Dancers in “The Last Bite” have performed in multiple Broadway shows, including Wicked, Fiddler on the Roof, Newsies, Music Man, Bad Boys of Ballet, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Cassie Nordgren is the Artistic Director of ThruLines and also serves as the Artistic Director of UPCA’s Danza Highbridge Festival. She is a two-time finalist in the Capezio A.C.E. Awards for Choreographic Excellence and was the SDCF Observer for Emmy Award winning and Tony nominated choreographer, Josh Bergasse, in the 2014 Broadway Revival of On The Town.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Virgil Gadson takes his fellow peers and audience on a storytelling musical journey on his life growing up as a dancer. With the help of an authentic, talented cast to also express who they are coming into this world today, this piece is about overcoming trials and tribulations living in the city. We daydream to make our dreams a reality by finding the right path, motivation and love. Choreographed by Virgil Gadson.
Virgil "Lil O" Gadson is a dancer, actor, choreographer, and educator from Philadelphia. He was a top 4 finalist on “So You Think You Can Dance?” (Season 12) and an original cast member of UPCA’s “The Hip Hop Nutcracker.” Virgil was nominated for a Fred Astaire Award for the Broadway show “After Midnight” (7 Tony nominations) as a principle actor/dancer.
Danza Debuts completes UPCA’s dance cycle for the year, but the Danza season begins again in September with its annual festival in Highbridge Swimming Pool.
Tickets: $10 online, $15 at the door
Free for children 12 and under