THERMAL, Calif. -

"Opportunities to learn through the arts are so important for their creativity and development. They may end up in the spotlight and decide they want to pursue it," choreographer Jennifer Backhaus said. 

Desert Mirage senior Estefania Salgado already knows she wants to pursue the spotlight.  

"I do want to be an actress. It would be great if I could incorporate all this in there," Salgado said. 

The McCallum Theatre's 7th Annual East Valley Dance Project lets Estefania learn the skills she needs to. 

The Mccallum Theater held auditions at Desert Mirage School for 7th through 12th graders - no dance experience necessary.  Some are doing this for fun, while others, like Estefania, are pursuing their dreams.

Something she found difficult to do in the past.  

"I do know a lot of people who go to dance classes in Palm Desert. Being from the eastern side of the Coachella Valley we cant really afford that, to have this experience to be able to free ourselves that way it's an amazing experience," Salgado said. 

Students had six free dance workshops. Backhaus said she's watching them grow into themselves.

"It helps their self confidence. When they start out they're shy, not sure they can do it. Through the process of working together it brings out confidence in them," Backhaus said. 

On Sunday, they will perform in front of more than one thousand people. 

"It really teaches you about teamwork, leadership, everything," Salgado said. 

It puts Estefania in the spotlight she wants to be in.  


To buy tickets, go to mccallumtheatre.com