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Beyond studio walls: Miami studio owner Amanda Tae launches a nonprofit dance company with a mission to educate.

When Amanda Tae sets her mind to something, the results tend to be quite impressive. The 34-year old has a star-studded performance and choreography resume--Pitbull, Will Smith and Enrique Iglesias, to name just a few. This year, she is celebrating the 10th anniversary of her Miami-based Focal Point Dance Studios, a training ground for bold-faced names such as "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 5 champion Jeanine Mason, Season 8 finalist Ricky Jaime and River North Dance Chicago veteran Ricky Ruiz. The talent management agency she started in 2007 currently has a roster of 350 artists (mostly dancers). And now, Tae is turning her attention to the launch of a new nonprofit dance company that will spread dance appreciation and education to underserved communities.

The company, Mosaic Dance Project, will offer full-time positions for up to eight dancers. Rehearsals will begin in late August or early September, with the first performances slated for December 2015. "I don't want this to be just a contemporary company," Tae says. "There will be elements of B-boying, hip hop, jazz, tap, flamenco--anything that showcases Miami's melting pot of talent. I want dancers who will be open-minded and throw themselves at anything that's given to them."

At the helm as resident choreographer is Kiki Lucas, fresh off an eight-year stint as the resident choreographer for the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company in Houston, TX. "Having the chance to build this new family and see where it can all go is really an amazing gift," says Lucas.

Tae has big dreams for the educational outreach part of her vision and fundraising efforts are currently underway. Initially, she plans to provide scholarships for local dancers in need--the first, to be awarded before the end of 2015, will send young dancers to out-of-town conventions, intensives and other enrichment experiences. Longer term, Tae's plan is to partner with local schools and community centers to bring dance classes to low-income areas. "There have been huge cutbacks in the past five years," says Tae. "As a graduate of a public arts high school myself, it hit home, so I wanted to help fix it."

"It's important to educate dancers by teaching them great technique, but also how to be a good person and how to survive in the world," she says. "It's important to realize what's beyond the four walls of the dance studio, and to find out what you can do, and what dance can do, to make things better for the community."

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Title Annotation:Focal Point Dance Studios, Florida
Author:Bohen, Colleen
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Apr 1, 2015
Words:413
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