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Dance Students Prep For Performance
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Dancers at the Valley Oak School of Dance were hard at work on Saturday morning, going over the routine they will perform at the upcoming Modesto Junior College Jam n Jive 2011 showcase, Sinatra & Friends. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Leader

Nine Oakdale dance students will have their moment in the spotlight at Modesto Junior College’s Jam n’ Jive this weekend.
The live jazz concert will feature a specially choreographed jazz dance performed by nine students of Valley Oak School of Dance. This year’s theme is “Sinatra and Friends,” and the Valley Oak School of Dance choreographed a dance number specifically for the show. They also ordered Sinatra inspired costumes for the event.
“They’re looking forward to it and they love to perform,” said Leslie Ozbirn, owner of Valley Oak School of Dance.
Ozbirn’s students have been rehearsing every night for the Jam n’ Jive, aside from their normal dance classes. They range in age from 13 to 21 and Ozbirn said each dancer brings exceptional technical ability as well as personal style to the piece.
“They’re pretty dedicated and active students,” Ozbirn said.
This is the first time that Valley Oak School of Dance has participated in the Modesto Junior College Jam n’ Jive. Ozbirn was a student of Lori Bryhni, a professor who oversees the dance program at MJC, when she was a student at Grace Davis High School in Modesto. Ozbirn said that Bryhni’s influence as her modern dance instructor led her to pursue a career teaching dance. She opened Valley Oak School of Dance 25 years ago, and has shared her passion for dance with many young people in the Oakdale community. Ozbirn is excited to see her students perform on the MJC stage.
“To participate at this level really is a privilege for them,” Ozbirn said.
Jam n’ Jive Jazz recital will be held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 22, 23, and 24 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the Performing and Media Arts Center on the East Campus of Modesto Junior College. Tickets are available at or at the box office. Tickets purchased at the door are only available 90 minutes before each performance.