Young dancers at an Olive Branch dance studio recently got a visit from a traveling trio of top performers on a national tour to promote dance and the creative arts.

CK Dance Theatre hosted “Coast 2 Coast: Dance Across America” on its fourth national tour. The group does free dance classes on an aggressive tour that encompasses at least 21 studios across the country between its base in New York, N.Y. and Los Angeles, Calif. in 14 days.

The recent visit was the group’s second time in DeSoto County, having first appeared there in 2014.

Part of what “Coast 2 Coast: Dance Across America” does as a 501(c)3 nonprofit is that they award $3,000 in dance scholarship money through an essay contest, money that can be used to pay for classes at the dance studio of their choice.

Made up of choreographer Louie Perez, Executive Director Jimmy Lyles and professional illusionist and videographer Ryan Dutcher, “Coast 2 Coast: Dance Across America” captivated the youngsters as they went through movements and together celebrated dance, while urging the dancers to pursue their dreams and never give up.

Perez was the main dance instructor for the event and was the epitome of someone who passionately pursued his dance dreams. Perez emigrated from Cuba to California at age 10, pursued dance but could not afford to pay for classes, so he mopped studio floors at Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio in North Hollywood in exchange. Today, Perez has performed in several touring shows and owns a dance studio in Fishkill, N.Y., north of New York City.

“Our goal is to encourage everyone to live, love, laugh and Never Give Up!,” Lyles said. “We will do this one dance step at a time, Coast 2 Coast: Dance Across America!”

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.

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