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Last updated: Mon. Nov. 12, 2012 - 01:58 pm EDT


Top choreographers teach local dancers

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“If only you saw what I could see, you’d understand why I want you so desperately.”

The One Direction song booms from behind the doors of the Anthony Wayne Ballroom. Inside, girls and boys – but mainly girls – are learning choreography from Dejan Tubic, the most-watched dancing choreographer on YouTube, with more than 100 million views.

Tubic taught hip-hop and hip-hop funk as part of the In10sive workshop Saturday and Sunday at the Grand Wayne Center. This is the third year the workshop has come to Fort Wayne as part of the In10sive, a group from Carmel that puts together traveling dance classes with well-known choreographers from Los Angeles.

As Tubic teaches one class Sunday, Jordan Casanova is working next door with advanced students, those ages 12 to 18. Casanova was a contestant on season 8 of Fox’s reality dance competition show “So You Think You Can Dance.” Saturday, Victor Smalley, from Lifetime’s reality show “Dance Mom’s Miami,” was an instructor.

“It’s pretty popular,” said Aaron Schwab, co-director of the group. “Fort Wayne, especially this year, was just huge for us.”

Leah Stauffer, 11, has attended the workshop each year it’s been in town, said her mother Cindy Friend, of Fort Wayne.

“She’s loving the classes,” Friend said. “She just feels like she’s in a really big town and environment with these choreographers. It’s a really neat opportunity for this town to have that kind of (workshop).”

Leah is a small girl with a tight bun on top of her head. She has blue ribbons sticking out of the bun, and she wears funky pink and black glasses. She is in the intermediate class, for dancers ages 11 and younger. As Tubic goes through the choreography for “What Makes You Beautiful,” Leah is in her head, working to get the moves right – the precise kicks, the fall to her knees, the arm rolls.

In10sive is for dance students – coming from beyond Fort Wayne, from Detroit, Cleveland and more – looking to expand on the instruction they can receive from their local studios, Schwab said.

“A lot of these people are working in the industry,” he said, and they’re choreographing for the likes of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. “When they’re teaching, they’re giving these kids a life lesson,” sharing what auditions are like and what it’s like to work with A-list talent.

Which is what was so appealing for Leah. She would like to work in dance professionally one day, Friend said, though her range of goals can change from day-to-day.

“I think right now, she aspires to do it all,” Friend said. “One week, she would love to be a choreographer and teach, and at one point, she said she’s opening her own art/dance studio. She wants to do it all.”

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