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On July 12, 2014, Culture Shock LA, its youth dance troupes, 86 alumni, 6 guest dance companies, and over 1500 supporters of our dance organization gathered together at the beautiful Long Beach Terrace Theater to celebrate 20 years of Culture Shock LA’s commitment to dance education, entertainment, and enrichment. The energy of the show’s cast was a mixture of joy to reunite with each other, excitement to express and share our passion with our audience, pride in our shared legacy, nostalgia, and most of all, gratitude for what Culture Shock LA has meant to each of us in our journey leading up to that moment. The Culture Shock LA 20th Anniversary Showcase was an opportunity to feature our programs and dance companies aligned with our mission, so the audience would not only celebrate our 20 years as an organization, but also understand and feel the energy and spirit of Culture Shock LA.

Each of the show’s performers was selected for a unique purpose. Intent to start the show strong, we opened the show by highlighting our youth enrichment & education programs. Performances included members of our Kids Hip Hop Intensive for children 7 years old and under; our 3 youth programs: Mini Shock LA, Mighty Shock LA, Future Shock LA; and one of our newest after-school programs, Awesome Shock, a dance therapy program for children with special needs. Next, a cast of 86 Culture Shock LA alumni shared the stage to perform a dance medley, touching upon the 20-year artistic history of Culture Shock LA. The joy, gratitude, and pride shared on the stage was evident and the alumni’s performance allowed them to bridge with the current company to create cohesion and a shared pride. Each of the acts following consisted of dance companies whose spirit and mission are aligned with Culture Shock LA, and with whom our company has established mutual support throughout the years. Culture Shock San Diego, Kaba Modern Legacy, BoogieZone Breed, Versastyle, Maker Empire, and Kinjaz took the stage to entertain the audience each with their unique and brilliant artistry. A video capturing the essence of our organization, inspired by the words of our school program participants, youth dance companies, and company members themselves was the perfect segue to the finale of the show performed by our current Culture Shock LA dance company.

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From featuring our youth programs to showcasing our guest performers and our own dance companies, our intent was to commemorate a 20 year legacy of outreach and professional entertainment. Although over 300 cast members graced the stage, each one brilliantly converged in that moment to accomplish our shared purpose. The positive energy of the event spilled over into our 2vs2 All Style Battle and BBQ at Wilson Park the next day. Together, all of the weekend’s events accomplished what we set out to do – to take a look back at where we have come from, to honor who and what has helped us get here today, and create a moment that will propel us forward on our continued commitment to uplift and inspire generations to come with purpose-driven art and education.

By Arnel Calvario