Today’s news:

Hip-hoppers hot foot it to LaGuardia for dance competition

The LaGuardia Performing Arts Center and World Class Dancers will present an evening of hip-hop dance Saturday in the form of the Dans Danza Dance Competition, a benefit awarding scholarships to students pursuing careers in the arts

The event will be held at the Mainstage Theater at the campus in Long Island City from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m, and will feature 15 rival dance crews from all over the Northeast. The groups will compete with creative and expressive hip-hop performances, and the winner will take home a grand prize of $1,000.

The judge panel includes local artists: ABDC Fr3sh’s Adrian Causing; FannyPak’s Beau, Fournier; Culture Shock LA /Carnival’s Dennis Caindec; Quest Crew’s Ryan, Feng; Static Noyze’s Suzette Sagisi and SoReal Cru’s Andrew Baterina.

WCD, a Queens-based dance crew, was created by Juan Zapata of Corona in 2007. Zapata is founding director of the group, lead choreographer and also the organizer of the Dans Danza benefit competition.

“WCD started off with a few interested people and has since grown into a solid group of dedicated dancers with a variety of inspirations and skills,” Zapata said on the group’s website.

Ivan Leon, the branding and creative manager of WCD,, said all 18 members of the organization are happy to call Queens their home base.

“Our home is in Long Island City at the YMCA there. They have been so good to us. We are thankful everyday for that space,” Leon said.

WCD came up with the idea for Dans Danza in order to bring something different to the Queens Arts Community.

“We sent all local dance crews an invitation, and from there is up to them to register for the event,” Leon said, adding “LaGuardia Performing Arts Center has events all year round with ballet, jazz and other types of dancing, and we thought it would be great to attract different crowds from other dance worlds.”

The WCD choreographers and dancers enjoy incorporating imagery and illusions into their dance performances.

“We love to make sure our set is full of dynamics, cool formations and transitions,” Leon said. “We have been looking to go for more of the entertainment aspect of a performance so we have been looking into themes and costumes to help us connect to audiences a little more and maybe show off our showmanship.”

WCD hosted its first dance showcase along with two other groups in the summer of 2009.

According to the group’s homepage, www.worldclassdancers.net, its mission is “to create, and continually enhance, a truly international dance company” and the aim is “to inspire people to grow by creative means with the view to making a genuine difference in our lives by gaining confidence and leadership skills whilst improving our talent.” WCD holds dance workshops twice a month at the Long Island City YMCA and at the arts center.

Tickets to Dans Danza can be purchased online ($10 for students, $15 general public) by visiting www.lagcc.cuny.edu/lpac and clicking on visiting the “Online Tickets” page. Tickets are also available at the door ($20). The proceeds help fund scholarships for local youths aspiring to work in the arts.

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