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Royal Stage opens studio in Roseville

Performing arts organization operates with a Christian twist
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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When Tamara Warta became a Christian in high school, she gave up dancing, an activity she felt no longer aligned with her morals.

She had grown up dancing in the Bay Area, but she didn't feel comfortable being asked to wear lingerie onstage and dance suggestively. When she quit, she thought it was for good.

Then at the University of California at Davis, she got involved with a Christian dance ministry that conveyed positive messages in their shows. Warta took over the group until she graduated, then for six years led a similar dance ministry through her church.

She's brought that vision to Roseville with the grand-opening of the Royal Stage Christian Performing Arts studio in the Hobby Lobby shopping center on Douglas Boulevard on Saturday.

"We minister to those who have been forgotten, abused or abandoned, and inspire within them a love of the arts that promotes healing, self-esteem and a bright future," said Warta, who directs the volunteer-run group.

The organization gained its nonprofit status in 2010 but had been operating out of a space they rented at Roseville High School. But they wanted to expand.

"We took a leap of faith and asked God to provide a building," Warta said.

They received a $5,000 sponsorship from Home Depot to renovate the building. Inside the space, they'll be hosting free or low-cost dance classes on hip-hop, ballet, musical theater and more for a target age group of 12 to 55 years old. They hold children's programs, too.

Royal Stage also works with nonprofit organizations that assist girls and women who are survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault and sex-trafficking. Warta says her organization promotes dance as a way to encourage women to release their pain and feel free.

"I've struggled with depression and anxiety and dance is my outlet and to have this benefit other people, too (is amazing)," Warta said. "Just getting your body moving helps you feel better about yourself."

For the past year, Royal Stage has worked with Citrus Heights-based Glass Slipper, which provides mentoring programs and events for at-risk adolescent girls in foster care and a support network for emancipated youth over age 18. The organization's goal is to inspire and empower these young women.

"We seek ways to provide opportunities for self-development, and this is how our partnership with the Royal Stage formed," said Glass Slipper Director Jackie Guzman.

She said through dance, the girls gain physical and emotional strength. They also become more poised and self-disciplined.

"Royal Stage assists us in building the self-image of girls who have survived abuse and would otherwise not have the opportunity to participate in dance instruction," Guzman said.

These young women also have a chance to develop camaraderie with others in a welcoming environment, Warta said.

"Dance is, even if it sounds cheesy, the universal language," she said.

Student intern Jessica Legg-Cusick, 15, joined Royal Stage after hearing about it through her home-school program. The Roseville resident is a singer, dancer and actor and she wanted a more-supportive performing arts experience.

"I like how you can be close friends with people and still do what you love," Legg-Cusick said. "Here, it's just about heart, and making sure your heart is in the right place."

This summer, she traveled to Romania to work with orphans but she hopes to return next year for another reason - Royal Stage plans to establish a plant version of their program in the European country, which lacks services for victims of sex-trafficking, Warta said.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

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For more information on Royal Stage Christian Performing Arts, call (916) 572-3022 or visit http://royalstage.squarespace.com/.