Dancers of all ages will gather on stage at the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center (PAC) on Aug. 14.“Dancin’ 2011,” presented by The Academy of Dance, will feature approximately 300 dancers in 40 dances stemming from the classes offered at the academy.
The youngest dancer is a two-and-a-half years old while other dancers are in their 60s, choreographer Drew Silvaggio said.
“(The show) is a cross-section of all of the dancers at the Academy of Dance,” he said.
Choreographer Harmony True teaches classes for dancers age three to six.
“I don’t have any kids yet, but they are my babies,” she said.
With the young age of her dancers, many would worry about stage right, but True said her dancers manage their nervousness well because she prepares them in advance of the show.
“I’m really lucky I don’t have a lot of nervous ones this year,” she said. “They are excited.”
She said the academy both encourages the excitement of the children and is well-equipped.
“The beauty of TV is that kids can see previous shows,” she said.
Because of this, they know what to expect. The children also watch the dances on a backstage television right before they perform. Then the group has a pep talk, she said.
“I tell them, ‘Put your smiles on! It’s OK to have a couple butterflies,’” she said. “And then I ask them, ‘What are you most excited about?’ to get them excited.”
The most important thing for dancers is to have confidence, True said.
The dance numbers, choreographed by Silvaggio, True, Jackie Lee, Dana Lossing, Michelle Epperheimer and wife Lori Silvaggio, cover many different dance genres, such as ballet, contemporary, folk, tap, jazz, and lyrical.
As for music, “there is something from every genre,” Silvaggio said.
Silvaggio choreographs the Academy’s of beginning tap dance classes for ages six to nine. At the show, one of his numbers will be a “fun little funk piece to LMFAO’s ‘Party Rock Anthem,’” he said.
Other choreographers plan to have fun with music during the show as well. Epperheimer said she often chooses re-imagined versions of popular songs, such as a jazz rendition of Kanye West’s “Heartless” for a ballet piece.
“I try to catch the audience off-guard with different versions of songs they might know,” she said.
Other songs to be featured in the show include “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas, “Dynasty” by Kaskade and “Cooler than Me” by Mike Posner.
Epperheimer said she choreographed 20 routines for the show, with styles ranging from ballet and jazz to contemporary. Her dancers come from various experience levels, and some are performing on a stage for the very first time.
“The whole experience is special — not everyone has the opportunity to perform at a venue (like the PAC),” she said.
Epperheimer also said she tries to make the experience exciting for the audience by incorporating the dancers’ strengths and utilizing dance movements to lyrics.
“My dances can tell a story through movement and song,” she said.
To prepare for the show, the dancers started practicing more than a year ago. Silvaggio said the show will be a represention all of the dancers’ efforts.
“It’ll be like watching the fruits of your labor for the past year,” he said.
The show comes close to selling out each year, according to theatre operations manager Nancy Cochran. This year, Cochran expects a similar turnout.
“I would expect we will have close to a full house with parents, grandparents, and the family of the dancers,” she said.
The show begins at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online.