Longform

A Moving Experience

Page 5 of 5

On the ASU stage, the differences in ages and sizes of the dancers seem diminished. Ali Akbar Khan's melancholy sitar fills the auditorium, and the dance unfolds. The performance is at once ragged and refined, stark and full, and most of all, honest.

The audience offers thunderous applause as the Herrera dancers, arm in arm with ASU's DART students, take a bow.

The night is almost over, except for the special awards. The audience learns that Herrera students Armando Plascencia and Elia Juarez are the winners of scholarships that will cover their expenses at a two-week arts camp at Columbia Gorge School of Theatre in Oregon.

Neither Elia's nor Armando's parents are present. But that doesn't diminish the kids' enthusiasm.

"I'm proud of myself," Elia says. "I feel special, of course. It's all good."

Armando says he's excited about the prospect of learning more dance moves and the fun that's bound to come at the camp.

"It makes me feel good," Armando says. "It makes me feel like I earned it and I can say I earned it because I put a lot of time into this.""I feel free to express myself," explains 12-year-old Armando Plascencia. "I can move how I want to move. That's what I do."

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John Dougherty
Contact: John Dougherty