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Laguna Dance Festival

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Laguna Dance Festival presents: Versa-Style Dance Co.

In 2005, Jackie Lopez, aka Miss Funk, was in the final year of pursuing her Bachelor of Arts degree at UCLA in World Arts and Cultures, with a Dance emphasis. She was creating her first repertory work, “The Perfect Song” and was recommended to work with a dancer named Leigh Foaad, aka Breeze-lee. Through this project, the two instantly bonded as collaborators, and decided to create a company together, calling it “Versa-Style,” to reflect versatility within street dance, and to honor the roots, origins, beauty, and power of hip-hop dance.

In May of 2005, Lopez and Foaad co-created their first work together, debuting their brand new company, Versa-Style, at the world famous Los Angeles dance industry showcase, “Choreographer’s Carnival.” In the following years, they continued to showcase at prestigious hip-hop dance festivals such as The J.U.i.C.E. Hip Hop Dance Festival (2009, 2010, 2012 & 2014), San Francisco Hip-Hop Dance Festival (2009-2012), and internationally renowned hip-hop dance theater artist Rennie Harris’ Illadelph Legends Festival (2010). Also in 2010, the company performed its first full-length theater work, “Feel Our Rhythm,” at the intimate Rosenthal Theater at Inner-City Arts in Los Angeles, achieving rave reviews from audiences, inducing an encore run later in the fall. In 2011, the company produced its second full-length work, “Positive Dose,” also premiering at the Rosenthal Theater.

2013 was a year of exponential growth for the company, debuting a new work, “Furious Beauty,” this time in the John Anson Ford Amphitheater’s Summer Series Partnership Program, selling out the theater and again garnering rave reviews. This year also saw Versa-Style grow internationally, performing in Chennai, India, as part of the city’s first ever hip-hop dance festival, as well as a seven-city tour of Israel, as part of the US Embassy Envoy program. Since that year, Versa-Style has enjoyed significant momentum, performing all over the country in Iowa, Montana, Utah, and touring throughout Alaska, as well as continuing its international efforts, performing at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, as well as in Bogota, Colombia, and Cesenatico, Italy. In 2016, Versa-Style returned to the Ford Amphitheatre to debut its latest full-length work, Box of Hope, which also premiered in 2017 at The Japanese Cultural and Community Center, as well as The Broad Stage. The work is set to tour beginning in spring 2018.

Versa-Style has also kept up its local efforts in the Los Angeles community throughout its existence, becoming a 501(c)(3) organization in 2009. Community services are disseminated through a pipeline system, referred to as the “Versa-Style Path to Success.” The pipeline is a self- sufficient cycle of community endeavors that includes educational performances for public schools on the history of American street dance, low-cost weekly dance classes in the foundations of various street dance styles, community festivals centered around competition, as well as a larger festival that includes workshops and community hip-hop dance theater performances, and a junior company, Versa-Style Next Generation, that offers pre-professional opportunities to aspiring hip-hop dance professionals. This pipeline exemplifies the history and values of hip-hop dance culture and is pivotal for keeping the culture alive and preserved for younger generations.

For over 13 years now Versa-Style has promoted the empowerment, artistry, and value of hip- hop dance culture through full-length street dance theater productions, educational performances, and deeply rooted social justice work in the community of Los Angeles. Versa- Style will continue to uphold these values and thanks the creators of these powerful movements who continue to inspire us today.

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