Sparks Join with Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Dance Department to Reorganize Dance Group
SparKids Dance Team Now Operated by Arts High Foundation
Los Angeles – The Los Angeles Sparks announced the SparKids, the team’s high-energy youth dance group, will now be reorganized by the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) and operated by the Arts High Foundation.
The team was chosen through tryouts from students attending LACHSA—under the direction of LACHSA Dance Department Chair Gina Buntz. Ms. Buntz has taught at New World School for the Arts, Interlochen Arts Academy and the University of Michigan. Her groundbreaking work in dance has been recognized through grants from National Endowment for the Arts and the American Dance Festival, and she has participated in State Department tours to African, Korea and Haiti. LACHSA students will perform as SparKids at all Sparks home games at the STAPLES Center this season.
“We are very excited to team up with the Arts High Foundation and Los Angeles County High School for the Arts,” Team President Mike Levy said. “We really look forward to the energy and performances the SparKids will bring to our fans this year.”
The SparKids are one of two dance groups that perform at timeouts and quarter breaks during Sparks home games, to entertain fans and keep the excitement levels high in the arena. The other group is the Ole Skool Crew, a 40 and over dance group for women.
Coordinating the SparKids for LACHSA and Arts High Foundation will be Liezel De Guzman. Guzman is a Los Angeles native with more than 20 years of dance experience. Foundation Associate Karen Louis, a 15 year theatre-administration professional, will be the SparKids’ liaison.
SparKids’ guest choreographer is Adam Parson. Parson is known for his multifaceted choreography and unique approach to teaching dance. He has been critically acclaimed by the Los Angeles Times and Dance Spirit Magazine, among others. He has worked with students performing in Glee, Michael Jackson’s “This is It” tour, So You Think You Can Dance, and more.
The SparKids will debut their new lineup in the Sparks’ home opener on Sunday, May 20 when Los Angeles takes on the Seattle Storm at STAPLES Center.
The Sparks will tip-off the 2012 season Friday, May 18 at the Storm before the same two teams do battle again on May 20. For group, season and single game ticket information, call 877-44-SPARKS (772757) or visit LASparks.com.
About the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA)
LACHSA offers a specialized program combining college-preparatory academic instruction and conservatory-style training in the visual and performing arts. Founded in 1985, the tuition-free public school of choice is run by the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) on the campus of California State University Los Angeles. Recognized as the premier public arts high school in the Western United States, LACHSA is the recipient of numerous national awards. The school serves over 600 culturally and socioeconomically diverse teens from more than 80 school districts in the County. To gain admission, each student must compete in a rigorous and highly-competitive performance audition or visual arts portfolio review. Each year, 1,100 students apply for only 150 slots. Notable alumni include: singers Josh Groban and Gretchen Parlato, jazz pianist Gerald Clayton, actresses Jenna Elfman, Clea Duvall and Marla Sokoloff, actors Corbin Bleu, Anthony Anderson, playwright Josefina Lopez, visual artist Kehinde Wiley and dancer Matthew Rushing. LACHSA’s Principal is George Simpson and LACOE’s Superintendent is Dr. Arturo Delgado. For more information about the school log onto www.lachsa.net.
About the Arts High Foundation
The Foundation was formed in 1984 to provide leadership for establishing a public arts high school conservatory in Los Angeles County – to offer audition-selected students college-prep academics and tuition-free, high quality arts instruction. Through its efforts, LACHSA was established on the campus of California State University Los Angeles in 1985. Since the school’s opening, through a landmark public/private partnership with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, the Foundation has focused on bridging the gap between State funding and the actual costs of the arts programs. To date, the Foundation has contributed over $15 million to support the arts programs of LACHSA. John R. Jackson is the Executive Director and Laifun Chung is President of the Board of Directors. For more information about the Foundation log onto www.artshighfoundation.org.
ABOUT THE LOS ANGELES SPARKSThe Los Angeles Sparks enter their 16th Women's National Basketball Association season in 2012 and are one of three original teams from the league's inaugural campaign in 1997. Winner of back-to-back WNBA Championships in 2001 and 2002, Los Angeles' roster of star athletes includes 2008 WNBA MVP and Rookie of the Year Candace Parker, two-time WNBA champion DeLisha Milton-Jones and four-time All-Star Alana Beard. The Sparks play their home games at STAPLES Center in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. For ticket information, call 877-44-SPARKS (772757) or visit LASparks.com.