Of Talented 10, Choreographer Chelsea Zeffiro Wins Top Prize

A little duet about love won big at the 8th Young Choreographers Showcase and Prize.


Chelsea Zeffiro’s romantic duet “Rooting for You” with long time partner Angel Acuña had qualities of a short film and choreographic elements worthy of a concert stage. Zeffiro won the top prize of $1,000 for Most Compelling Choreography, awarded by a three-judge panel.

Chelsea Zeffiro hugs dance partner Angel Acuña after winning Most Compelling Choreography, at the Young Choreographers Showcase and Prize. Image: Kris Eitland


We were enthralled by a swirling light show and joined the couple on a life-long journey of playful gestures and seamless lifts. We wanted to be them. Zeffiro specializes in multi-media and created the score. Remixed excerpts from “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston and “I feel Love” by Donna Summers played with tempos to make phrases dynamic and unpredictable.


The piece ended with delicate palms flicking up and down, salsa hip wiggles, and a flawless leap for petite Zeffiro to perch on Acuña’s shoulder.


“Rooting for You” is part of a larger project and Zeffiro has a venue. In addition to the cash prize, she wins a fully produced show at Live Arts Fest this spring. Read more about this prolific dance artist at www.chelseazeffiro


Did you know? Angel Acuña won Best Dance Performance at the 2015 Showcase. http://www.sandiegostory.com/next-generation-revealed-in-choreographers-showcase-prize/  Hannah Pritchett won Best Dance Performance in 2016.


10 contestants under age 30 had the honor of being selected for the annual showcase presented by San Diego Dance Theater.  The showcase sold out two shows at 5 and 8 pm. Saturday Mar. 3 at the White Box Live Arts.


Judges and two audiences awarded prizes in three categories. Unlike previous years, there were no hip hop armies charging forward. Instead, dances blasted the senses with dramatic ensembles, angry fists, and quirky theater. And love.

Hannah Pritchett won Audience Favorite Choreography for “the difference what was and what is.” Courtesy image

Hannah Pritchett won the $500 Audience Favorite Choreography prize for her entry, “the difference what was and what is” set to “Twins” by Gem Club. Pritchett studies dance at Grossmont College and credits Kathy Meyer for her inspired choreography.  Dancers included: Amanda Alvarez, Liyah Carter, Sara A. Celaya, Michael Lozano, Verenice Meza, Leobardo Rubio, Carlos Sierra, and Pritchett.


Judges awarded choreographer Jacob Soble $500 for Best Dance Performance in his entry “Greed, Passion, Love, and Lust.”  Presented in three acts, Soble performed with dancers: Courtney Giannone, Jessica Kelley, Andrea Rehm, and Niesha Smith.  Dressed in gym clothes, he portrayed the average guy with a super power. He surprised everyone with quick moves versus a wild cat woman in spandex. He presented a sexy trio of muscled women, and returned to stomp and flail with surprising flexibility.

Judges awarded Jacob Soble the Best Dance Performance prize.  He presented the ensemble work “Greed, Passion, Love, and Lust.” Image: Kris Eitland


Soble is a senior at Canyon Crest Academy and has already won several awards for performance and choreography. He plans to study dance at a local university.  He also runs a nonprofit. www.sobledancemovement.com


Showcase 2018 judges included: Gretchen Burns Bergman, Gretchen Productions; Debi Toth-Ward, Prof. of Dance, Grossmont College and San Diego City College; and Dr. Carl Yamamoto, Borrego Chiropractic, and former Artistic Director of San Diego Dance Theater.


Curators included: Jean Isaacs, Margaret Marshall, and George Willis.



Visit https://www.facebook.com/sandiego.dancetheater/ for more images and bios on choreographers and dancers. #sdycs2018 #youngchoreographers







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