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Dance star Lazzarini teaches jazz classes this weekend

The winner of 'So You Think You Can Dance' will reunite with former teacher Sioux Lehner

KING CITY - Fans of the television show 'So You Think You Can Dance' know that Nick Lazzarini won the first season's contest, but they probably don't know that the 22-year-old dancer has ties to the local community.

Sioux Lehner, a longtime dance instructor in Tigard and the owner of the Fired Up Performing Arts Studio in King City, was Lazzarini's dance teacher in California starting when he was 5 or 6 years old.

Lazzarini is coming from Hollywood to Tigard this weekend to teach classes in Lehner's studio - an intermediate jazz and an advanced jazz class. The classes are open to the public, although space is limited.

'He is just amazing - probably one of the best dancers in Hollywood today,' Lehner said. 'He danced with my studio in California for 10 years. He went on to win every dance competition in the U.S. I'm so proud of him and think of him as one of my own kids.'

Lazzarini actually won't call Southern California home much longer - he is moving to New York City on Oct. 1.

Ironically, his prize for winning the 'So You Think You Can Dance' competition was $100,000 plus an apartment in NYC for a year, but he converted the rent to cash and gained another $72,000.

'It was a good decision for me at the time,' he said Monday. ''Now I'm ready for the move.'

Lazzarini calls winning the national show 'kind of crazy.'

'It seems like it was a long time ago,' he added. 'It was a surreal experience. But I could tell how big it was by how much impact it had.

'In the dance world, if you're good, people know who you are. But the show led to a lot more people knowing who I am. I was at Burger King at the Los Angeles airport at 6 in the morning, and the girls there recognized me. The coolest part is the fans of the show.'

Lazzarini has tried out at dance auditions in New York in the past so he is somewhat familiar with the city. And he knows that he is renting a studio apartment in the Financial District in the southernmost building on the island of Manhattan - for $2,300 per month.

'I've had a lot of Broadway offers, and I'm now thinking of getting into acting,' he said. 'Maybe I'll be in a Broadway play or join a dance company.'

Right now, he is looking forward to seeing Lehner again.

'It's been a few years since I last saw her,' he said. 'When I was growing up, there were three families, including hers, who were best friends. Sioux is like my second mom. I started dancing at her studio in 1989.

'It's cool she started another studio. I'm real excited to see her.'

For more information on Lazzarini, visit his Web site at nicklazzarinidance.com.

For more information on his classes at the Fired Up Performing Arts Studio, call 503-620-3155.