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Dance event to help young cancer patients

The Desi Geestman Foundation, which lends a hand to youths and families who are battling cancer, will benefit from performance.

April 17, 2008|By Mary O’Keefe

Lanterman Auditorium in La Cañada will be the venue April 19 when Lineage Dance performs “Dancing Through the Ages” as a benefit for the Desi Geestman Foundation. Curtain time is 8 p.m.

The foundation was formed in 1999 in memory of the Desi Geestman, a 12-year-old La Crescenta girl who died of neuroblastoma.

The foundation has helped cancer patients and their families with support both financially and emotionally.

“We work with so many charities throughout the year,” said Hilary Thomas, Lineage artistic director. “Every year when we put our season together we schedule benefits. This benefit [for Desi Geestman Foundation] was Peggy’s [Burt] idea.”

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Burt is Lineage company manager and a La Cañada resident.

“Living in La Cañada, Desi Geestman Foundation is so supported,” Burt said. “I contacted Mrs. Geestman and she was delighted with the opportunity to partner with us.”

Thomas also knew about the foundation through her other job as dance teacher at Flintridge Preparatory School in La Cañada.

“We have a Desi Geestman Club at the school,” Thomas said.

Several Flintridge Prep students have joined the benefit performance; some are dancers but for others this is their first dancing experience.

Burt said the show takes a look at how humans age, from learning to walk as a baby to the energy of teenage years. It then follows through to the aging process.

“We have dancers from 12 years old to 68,” Burt said.

She added that the performance includes some prose as well as dance.

“Irwin Resso speaks about what it is like to get older,” Burt said.

“He is amazing,” she added.

The performance demonstrates that despite age, dance is a constant in the lives of the performers and the joy of dancing, which begins as a child, is sustained no matter how many years have passed.

Lineage is not a dance studio but a performance company that travels throughout the community and the country.

The company just returned from Missoula, Montana and have scheduled performances in San Francisco and New York later this year.

Their dancers come from other studios and schools. Rebecca Levy teaches hip-hop at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, as well as at Sue B. Dance Company in Altadena. She will be performing as well as several of her students.

Katerina Mercante, along with Thomas, teaches dance at Flintridge Prep. Mercante and Thomas have also included their students in the performance. Other dancers like Michelle Kolb, who is an actress, and Meghann Fowler, a set designer in the film industry, are also part of the company.

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“Dancing Through the Ages” begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 19, at Lanterman Auditorium, 4491 Cornishon Ave., La Cañada Flintridge. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students and seniors. They can be purchased online at www.lineagedance.org or at the door at the night of the event.


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