Arts and Culture
Cynthia Young is the artistic director of Pasadena Dance Theatre. The nonprofit school and company operates with a small staff on a tight budget. But Young also works full-time as the associate dean of California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, so she can afford to share her free time — as well as her knowledge and talent — with PDT.
“Dance is one of the most understated opportunities for people,” Young said. “As a fine art, it goes to a deeper point. There’s a real pathos that is communicated through a storyline or just through movement itself.”
Young adds that dance is a form of communication that can teach different techniques of interaction, from sharing an idea to working with others. She points out that the so-called social media is actually a solitary pursuit, whereas dance, whether as participant or observer, is truly social.
PDT is open to anyone who wants to dance and provides scholarships for needy students. It offers classical training, as well as contemporary jazz, African dance and other genres.
Along with classes and performances, PDT produces a “Nutcracker” outreach program at the Pasadena Playhouse, attended by 5,000 children a year. The kids see a ballet performance, take a backstage tour and listen to a talk about the performance process.
Young has been dancing since age 8. For her, dance “is not a choice, it’s just looking for the next opportunity to be able to share that passion and that love and that drive with other people.”
PDT has been collaborating with the Island MovingCompany in Rhode Island and performed there with them last year at a festival. This month (April), the company will visit Pasadena to perform.
This summer, PDT will offer an opportunity for students to experience a wide range of dance disciplines with the Advanced Intensive for ages 14-18 in June and Regular Intensive for ages 8-18 in July.
– Michelle J. Mills