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Teens In Columbia Heights Take To The Stage

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By Stephanie Kaye

A group of teens in Columbia Heights is bringing their stories to the stage and attracting a new audience to DC theaters.

The group is called "Paso Nuevo," or "New Path." And although it's run by a couple of adults, the stories are written and performed by local teenagers, like fifteen-year old Rosemary Solorzano.Her story deals with a girl whose family can't afford a "quince" party, a rite of passage celebrated in Latino communities.

"That girl, she gets into prostitution to get it...but I won't do that!I wouldn't get into prostitution to get my quinces," says Solorzano.

Quique Aviles directs Paso Nuevo.

"When I see Salvadorean peasants that barely speak English and have never been to the theater come to see their cousins and their kids," says Aviles.

He likes shining a positive light on the young people in Columbia Heights.

"We tend to think of our young people as these violent beasts when, in reality, they have a tremendous sense of beauty and caring," he says.

The group's latest production, "La Catorce," highlights life on 14th Street Northwest, with performances tonight and Sunday at Gala Hispanic Theater.


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