What do rock, hip hop, world music and a petting zoo have in common? They all can be found when the Music & Dance Academy hosts its kick-off party this Saturday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at its Foothills school, 4811 E. Sunrise Drive.

All ages are invited to take part in this free event of diverse music and dance explorations. Festivities include live performances with music and dance jam sessions, free balloon art, and drawings of valuable prizes from the Academy and other contributing local businesses. 

“We invite everyone to come to our party and enjoy the fun of making music and dance,” said Academy director Nina Tishkevich. “This is a great opportunity to sample a dance class, or try a new instrument as well as to meet others in our community that make music and dance part of their regular activities.”

The Academy’s faculty includes percussionist Drew Andreatta, flutist Deena Reedy, violinist Jose Leonardi Reyes, and guitarist Michael Lich. They will be leading instrument jams, where the pubic can sample a new instrument. Dance instructor Lane Blue, whose infectious energy has Tucson dancers discovering new heights, will lead attendees in new dance steps.

Tucson Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor George Hanson will award music and dance scholarships to winners of the Academy’s 2011 scholarship essay contest.

The award-winning Arizona Music & Dance Academy provides music and dance education using innovative teaching methods for students of all ages in ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop and modern dance, and strings, guitar, woodwinds, brass, percussion, piano and voice.

Founded in 1995 by Tishkevich, the Academy is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts.

Its early childhood music and dance programs provide innovative curriculum for young students, infancy through age 8. The Academy also offers programs for teens and adults in music and dance.

For more information, visit www.MusicDanceTucson.com or call 327-2303.

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