Welcome To Dance Under Stars Choreography Festival

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McCallum Theatre Institute presents the 12th Annual, Dance Under The Stars Choreography Festival Saturday, November 14th and Sunday, November 15th, 2009. This year's Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Nigel Lythgoe, judge, co-creator and executive producer of the Emmy award winning television show, "So You Think You Can Dance" one of the most successful dance shows in the history of television.

The Dance Under The Stars Choreography Festival features a choreography competition in two divisions, educational opportunities such as workshops and residencies and honors those who have made outstanding contributions to dance through a Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Nigel, who started his career as a dancer, brought his expertise as dancer, choreographer, director and producer to BBC television shows such as Planet 24, the UK version of Survivor, Gladiators, Pop Idol and Blind Date. SYTYCD, launched in 2005 by 19 Entertainment on Fox Television, is now presented in 147 countries while 16 countries make their own version. Through his duties as executive producer as well as on-camera talent, Nigel quickly and expertly brought the show to prominence.

Other career contributions include the newly formed Dizzy Feet Foundation created by Nigel, actress Katie Holmes, Carrie Ann Inaba of "Dancing with the Stars" and director Adam Shankman, to support, improve and increase access to dance education. He was the executive producer for seven seasons of "American Idol," nominated for 39 Emmy awards, executive producer and co-creator of NBC's Superstars of Dance and was recognized as the only person to dance in, choreograph, direct and produce the Royal Variety Performance for Her Majesty the Queen of England.

Nigel, who was recently awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts by the University of Bedfordshire and the prestigious Governor's Award by the Television Academy for "Idol Gives Back" will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award on November 14, 2009 at the McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts in Palm Desert, CA. The show, starting at 7 pm, is the Division I professional competition and features 12 finalists selected by committee from over 140 submissions from all over the country.

The Division II competition is Sunday, November 15, 2009 at 4 pm and will feature 18 choreographers utilizing pre-professional dancers, those on the verge of embarking on professional careers. Choreographers will be competing for $26,000.00 in cash awards and a paid engagement at the McCallum Theatre For The Performing Arts. A complete listing of finalists is included below.

The Dance Under The Stars Choreography Festival founded by artistic director, Shea New, was begun in 1998 in association with the City of Palm Desert and The College of the Desert and has been incorporated and produced by The McCallum Theatre Institute since 2002. It was founded to create venue for emerging and established choreographers, develop new dance audiences, create opportunities for dancers and recognize those who have made an outstanding contribution to dance.

Since its inception Dance Under The Stars Choreography Festival has awarded over $200,000.00 directly to choreographers. Past festival honorees include George Chakiris, Marc Breaux, Alan Johnson, Donald McKayle, Rudy Perez, Carmen de Lavallade, Grover Dale, Joe Tremaine, Dee Dee Wood, Lula Washington and Glen Tetley. -- www.mccallumtheatre.com

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