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Happy Easter!!!

topThe joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world. Still before us lie work, discipline, and sacrifice. But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice.
~Henry Knox Sherrill

 It is in this truth that we prevail and so did our WSPA students who have outdone themselves in the past competitions.

Above all the accolades, awards, and plaques, is a kindred spirit and thankful heart that celebrates the work, the discipline, and their sacrifice.   I congratulate all our students and their parents for keeping these experiences true and real.  I continue to wish the best for all of you.

Our Polynesian Company 'Te Orama' is hosting an Island Festival in the month of May .  We invite you all to come out on Saturday, May 5, and enjoy everything island - food, entertainment, games, and activities, and experience the courtyard transformed into paradise.  For more details on the event, click here.


Urban Paradise Hip Hop Showcase at the Chabot Theater in Hayward displayed the talent and skills of over 400 performers.   Read a recap by its director Patrick Rivera Cruz. 




 Register now for WSPA's exciting summer intensives and classes.    



2012 Summer Dance Intensives for the Serious Student are designed to target the needs of every student.  Every beginning or advanced student wanting to train with emphasis on Jazz/Contemporary or on Classical Ballet will find an intensive that will target the need for technique or style this summer.    Check out the different programs we offer:

Kabaniaev's Summer Intensive.  Students who auditioned last month should brace up for a challenging 3-week intensive with Viktor Kabaniaev.  Students will be pushed physically on flexibility and strength.  Advise your child to be prepared mentally and to work diligently at all times.   The acceptance letters will be emailed out to all who auditioned by the end of this week.  Register and save your child's spot by May 1st.

Musical Theater Intensive .  Students will be working with Katie Kerwin, a member of NATS (National Association of Teacher's of Singing) and the International Tap Association, and ACTOR'S EQUITY ASSOCIATION.  Click here for the informational flyer.

Dance Intensives with Emphasis on Classical Ballet.   This intensive is recommended to Junior 3, 4, and Junior Apprentice, Apprentice and Company Levels in the Ballet Performance Program and will be grouped according to their age and ability (Juniors and Seniors).  Both groups will be working with a guest master ballet teacher in technique, variation, and pointe work.  Tasha Hamilton will be teaching the modern/improvisation classes.  The daily schedule of classes is available in the office.

Dance Intensives with Emphasis on Jazz and Contemporary.  This intensive is recommended to Jazz 1, 2, and 3, and the Ballet students in the General School program.  Tasha Hamilton will be teaching the daily ballet technique classes and the jazz, modern, and improvisation disciplines.  Only one group is available, so register and save your spot now.   The daily schedule of classes is available in the office.

Hip Hop Intensive.  For the hip hop enthusiast, daily workshops are being held for an entire week taught by master teachers from Northern and Southern California.  The first two weeks are recommended to beginning and intermediate levels.  The third week is for the advanced - apprentice and company levels. 

Take a quick look at what's happening during the month of April, May, and June: 


April 7 - World of Dance, Los Angeles

April 6-12 - Spring Break

April 12 - Musical Theater Props Paint Day 

April 21 - OLM International Dinner 

April 22-28 -  Youth America Grand Prix, New York   

May 5 - Urban Paradise Island Festival, WSPA Courtyard

May 7 - IDC Precompetition 

May 12 - "May Day" Hawaiian Festival, Alameda 

May 13 - Make-Up Photo Day for Group Shots 

auditionsMay 17 - Auditions for Musical Theater Perf. Program - ages 8+ 

May 18 - 20 -International DAnce Challenge Competition  

May 21 - Auditions for Ballet, Tap and Polynesian Perf. Programs  

May 22 - Audition for Hip Hop & Lyrical Performance Programs

May 23 - Audition for Jazz & Modern Performance Programs

May 23 - Audition for Musical Theater Perf. Program - Ages 5-7 

May 26 - Body Rock Hip Hop Competition, San Diego 

May 25-28 - Memorial Day Weekend Holiday

June 2 - Registration for Fall Session begins 

June 2 - Professional Division Audition   

June 17 - WSPA 21st Anniversary Gala Performance 

June 18-22 - Recital Rehearsals at San Mateo Performing Arts

June 22-24 - Year End Showcase
June 25 - Kabaniaev's Summer Intensive, Session 1

June 25 - Musical Theater Summer Intensive, Session 1


Last but not the least, take a look at what we will be presenting for the Year-End Showcase and read here about the Student Evaluation your child will be receiving soon.


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May you all have a wonderful Easter celebration!


Loving "dance" always,


Malu Rivera-Peoples
Westlake School for the Performing Arts

competitionsHere's a recap of how they did by order of the events:

Youth America Grand Prix, SF Regional - February 24-26


 With just one trio and 11 soloists competing in YAGP, they managed to win the Outstanding School Award.  Click here to see why.  


Going to the New York Finals on April 22 are Youth Grand Prix winner Miko Fogarty, Hope Awardee Tristan Brosnan, First Place winner Jasmine Cruz, accompanied by Jonalyn Montero and Alyssa Viray in the trio "Count On Me" by Tina Fargas-Newell.  Accompanying teachers are Viktor Kabaniaev and Tina Fargas-Newell.   



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nycdaNew York City Dance Alliance - March 23-25

Sharing my thoughts on NYCDA - Malu Rivera-Peoples 


I had my reservations attending the New York City Dance Alliance.  Being an elitist in classical ballet, I frown on commercial and broadway dancing.  I do not take pride in this attitude as I know it takes a lot of talent and skill to be successful in that industry where great artists such as Bob Fosse and Michael Jackson hail.  Guilty for being a snob, I confess to having the most amazing time dancing in a few broadway and commerical productions myself, such as Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joan of Arc, and the Miss Universe Pageant on TV in my younger years, rubbing shoulders with the popular stars in the Philippines.  The truth is it's an attitude I can't shake off.  Ironically,  I had worked so hard in ballet but could never really dance the much coveted principal roles of the classics because I did not have the legs or the ridiculously arched feet to show underneath the platter tutu.  I, however, ruled the stage in modern dance and breezed through jazz with ease; at least that's what I think with the title roles I danced through out my career.  One would think I would favor the latter, but I am a person who tends to respect anything that I cannot own.  Classical Ballet is one of them.  God has been kind to me and gave me a school where I will precariously live as a classical ballerina in the lives of my students.

So there we were at New York City Dance Alliance, in a convention where there were at least 500 dedicated Teens and Seniors (and hundreds of them in the mini and junior divisions in two other ballrooms) dancing on carpet floor in a huge ballroom; risking their lives on a slippery temporary stage meant for social dancing.  I cringed every single time each one tried to dance their best on that floor struggling through their ballet, contemporary,  and jazz routines.  How can I just let our students work this way when I have given them state of the art sprung floor with a marley for better grip and safety in my school.  At the end of the day, there was only one casualty that I witnessed.  I guess you can say, the odds were to our favor. 

Joe Lanteri was a very good speaker, able to inspire the dancers to work for their dreams, not to waste valuable time sitting at home waiting for that important phone call, but rather to continue working while creating opportunities for themselves.  I totally agreed, and however I felt about a convention that focused on choreography (must be the 'in' thing now), the lack of professional dance floor suitable for serious work, and a competition that mandated participation of the convention, Joe's words resonated through out the ballroom and touched every dancer's mind and maybe soul.  He affirmed my thoughts and teachings exactly.

Having heard it from Joe Lanteri, our (the teachers) constant outpour of corrections and recommendations for more ballet technique are validated in the minds of our students (or not).

WSPA dancers prevailed in both the competition and convention.  With WSPA's   generally strong ballet technique, they took home scholarships, top awards, and the respect from the organization who "felt honored" to have us, as expressed by their manager, Leah.  Thoughts of being able to go to New York lurked in every one's minds after receiving the Critic's Award and supposedly receiving a scholarship to the NY Finals.  As it turned out, that was all there was, ONE (1) scholarship for one student from each of the awarded numbers of Gounod's Waltz and Bathing Beauties.

There was so much talent in that convention and I was glad to have brought our students to join them.

WSPA students were all so happy, inspired, and came out of the hotel aspiring to become better dancers with talks of what they will concentrate on in the future.  Seeing what it had done to the students, in spite of the carpeted floor, the weekend turned out to be "priceless".

My reality - I feel responsible for all WSPA students and I can only hope that those who put their trust in my leadership will not turn out to be an elitist like myself, will accept and apply in their training that ballet technique always prevail, and have the wisdom to dance with care and not risk their potential dance career on bad floors.

Click here for Results

Mini's in Duncans Ballet class
Mini's in Duncans Ballet class
At the Convention featuring WSPA student Jasmine Cruz and Tristan Brosnan


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Showstoppers Regional - March 30-April 1, Recap by Julie Brosnan

One of the world's largest dance competitions arrived at the San Mateo Event Center on March 30.  For three days Westlake students competed with hundreds of dancers from across the region in many categories of dance at the Showstopper American Dance Championships 2012 in San Mateo.  WSPA students participated in age divisions ranging from mini's who are age 8 and under through junior, teen, and senior divisions up to age 17.   


During the competition, WSPA students were under the personal supervision of Westlake director, Malu Rivera-Peoples, as well as ballet mistress Tina Fargas and tap instructor Amy Beltrami.  Our dancers put their talents on display in contemporary, tap, ballet, pointe, folkloric, jazz,  lyrical, character routines, and song and dance.  Thanks to teachers Malu, Tina, Amy, Viktor, Tasha, Katie, Vassilii and all the dedicated parents and siblings who made this event such a success.   


Whether performing as soloists, or in duets or groups, Westlake was well represented among the top award winners.  Miss Amy's tap numbers rocked the house, adding to the fun and excitement.  A junior standout was Jasmine Cruz who performed en pointe and in contemporary; she earned the top-level crystal award along with an overall second place in the junior solo division.  She now has an invitation to perform in the opening number of the National Finals to be held this summer at Disneyland in Anaheim.  Two other standouts were Hikari Jacobson who wowed the audience and judges with her crystal and first overall performance of "Cupid", and Miss Tina's amazing "On My Knees"  large group contemporary which also took a crystal award as well as 1st overall. 


As all Westlake parents can attest, dance dynamically enhances many aspects of developing children.  In what could have been a child's (and parent's) worst nightmare, a faulty compact disc stopped playing seconds into the competitive routine of a folkloric number.  Junior soloist, Tristan Brosnan, showed the professionalism for which WSPA is renowned and completed the final two minutes of his routine in silence, only to be greeted by rousing applause from the crowd and judges.  Showstoppers encourages students to aim high, think big and never give up in pursuit of their goals.  This a competition where everybody is a winner!


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MT flyer 2012


Katie Kerwin will be bringing the most colorful Broadway musicals to WSPA this summer!  Students will learn voice, dance, acting, staging, theatre ter-

minology, audition pre-

paration, costuming, rehearsal and per-

formance etiquette and so much more!  Students will share with family and friends what they learned in a performance presentation at the end of the session!


 MT 2012 flyer page 2



































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hiphopThe Company's Urban Paradise Hip Hop Showcase, by Pat Cruz and Matt Montenegro















This year's Urban Paradise turned out to be one of the best yet, bringing in over 400 performers and over 1100 audience members in attendance.  With the renovation of the San Mateo Performing Arts Center, we relocated to the Performing Arts Center at Chabot College in Hayward.  A bigger venue allowed us more opportunities for a better show.  We were able to hold a larger audience and successfully sold every seat, a first for Urban Paradise.  In addition, our T-shirts sold out faster than ever.

To be considered our best lineup yet, returners like David Garibaldi brought the house down, contributing his own unique style to Urban Paradise. In addition, other groups returning to Urban Paradise year after year from Southern California: CADC, SGBM and GRV; as well as Press P.L.A.Y. from Sacramento, all performed their hearts and talent, displaying a variety of styles on stage. We can't be more proud of The Company, APT, and Training Ground who all performed really well that night.

We would like to give a big thank you to all of our guest performers, volunteers, Debbie Knutson, WSPA and Artist in Motion Bay Area staff for making this year's Urban Paradise an overwhelming success.

We are proud of the success and growth of Urban Paradise, starting from a small theater in Serramonte del Rey to venues like the Palace of Fine Arts and now Chabot College Performing Arts Center. Urban Paradise has grown to be an event anticipated in the Bay Area, and also recognized in the Hip Hop Dance Community. We are always looking to build and grow with each Urban Paradise.  Expect the next one to be better than the last.

- Pat Cruz and Matt Montenegro

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Urban Paradise' 2nd Island Festival - May 5, 10-7PM
Dress in your favorite aloha shirt or in your own island stylin' way.  Bring a lawn chair and lounge as you partake of some sumptuous dishes our parents will be preparing!!!  


Feast your eyes on the all-day performances by guest performers Otea Api and Nememzo together with our own youth companies The Company (hip hop), Musical Theater Co., and Te Orama.

Giving our beginning Polynesian students an opportunity to perform, we will be showcasing some of the General School Classes of Auntie Nene and Auntie Camille at the festival.  Joining the star studded line up is some of our Jazz Performance Program competition pieces.

 Play games, get a massage, be tattooed, or get braided like an island girl!!!  


This is all happening on May 5 - FUN FUN FUN!!!!! and best of all ADMISSION IS FREE.  Wanna beat the line to get your tickets for food, games, and activities - purchase your tickets in advance from the office and save $5 dollars on each $25 worth of tickets!!!

Here is a MUST READ for all Te Orama Members

Here is a MUST Read for all others.



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End of the Year Showcase at Skyline

GalaWSPA End of the Year Showcase starts with The Father's Day Special on June 17 celebrating our 21st Anniversary.  The award-winning and exciting performances of our top levels in ballet, hip hop, Polynesian, Tap, Musical Theater and Jazz, will serve as a tribute to all the dedicated fathers of our WSPA family.  


The following weekend will showcase the entire school in a mixed program of beginning through advanced levels of students from both the General School and the Performance Programs.  Definitely something to look forward to is Musical Theater's production of the "Lion King".   


 As of this writing, considering the limited seating capacity of Skyline, 6 shows are being planned.  This is subject to change once the final line up of dances is finalized.


Show 1 - 21st Anniversary Gala - June 17, Sunday, 7:00 PM


Show 2 - 6:00 PM, Friday, June 22, 2011 


Show 3 & 4 - 1:00 PM & 5:30 PM ,

                   Saturday, June 23, 2011


Sunday 5 & 6 - 1:00 PM & 5:30 PM ,

                   Sunday, June 24, 2011  


Stage Rehearsals:  Gala rehearsal will be on June 17; Recital Rehearsals will be held from Monday to Friday,  June 18 to 22.


A detailed line up of dances for each show and the corresponding rehearsal schedule will be posted in early May. 


IMPORTANT:  The stage rehearsals are mandatory for all the students.  We ask that parents make the necessary adjustment in their schedules to ensure your child is able to attend the rehearsal.  Teachers are working hard to showcase your children at their best in the recital.  It is not fair for any student to jeopardize that success by skipping rehearsals.



 Tickets to all the showcases will be on sale in May.


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Student Evaluations; Auditions for Acceptance to the Performance Program;Summer Intensive



evaluationsTeachers are currently preparing the student evaluations  and will be handing them  to your child next month. Parents, please make sure you receive them. 


 The evaluation report will state if there is a need for a parent conference, however, parents are always welcome to make an appointment in the office with their teacher any time throughout the year. Students should use the report to their advantage by working hard on areas that need improvement and continuing to work on areas that showed consistent growth.  Bear in mind that the purpose of the evaluation is to document the training of your child and to provide her/him a direction in her training.  Each student is a work in progress.


All the students of WSPA will be evaluated with the exception of students who enrolled in the Spring. Spring students will receive a recommendation for the summer program.  


 For more information on the Performance Program, please visit our website or ask the office.


An invitation to audition for the Performance Program and/or a recommendation to participate in the summer intensive will be included in the evaluation. 


The Audition Dates for the Performance Program are posted above in our Calendar at a Glance.  A time schedule will be posted on the board in the office.


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In This Issue
YAGP NY Finals
Showstoppers Regional
Musical Theater Summer Intensive
UP HIp Hop Showcase
UP Island Festival
End of the Year Showcase
Student Evaluations
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Save $$$$
Summer Intensive

Enroll in two intensives and save 10% off your tuition. (Not applicable to after camp classes and the Professional division intensive.  Offer expires: June 1st, 8PM.


Island Festival:

Save $5.00 off of your $25 worth of Tickets.  Purchase in advance until April 15
May 4.  Offer expires:  May 4, 9PM.