Young Lake Forest Dancers Study in New York
Dancers of Lake Forest Dance Academy got a special glimpse of the professional dance world
Twenty dancers of Lake Forest Dance Academy's (LFDA) Performance Companies completed their first Educational Performance Tour of New York recently.
Dancers were accompanied by family, friends and three Academy faculty members on an exciting, three-day dance immersion program June 28-30. For many of the dancers, the trip was their first-ever experience of New York City.
“It may sound cliché, but the most important thing I learned on the trip is to be yourself,” Claire Franksen, 15, said. “In smaller towns like Lake Forest, everyone merges into the same ideal person. But in New York, you see that there are so many different types of people, and it’s so interesting.”
The trip included master dance classes at the prestigious Broadway Dance Center, an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Radio City Music Hall and a performance of the Tony-award winning musical “Newsies,” along with trips to the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, according to the Dance Academy.
The dancers had the opportunity to choose what style of dance to study in a master dance class.
Franksen, who has been a lyrical, jazz and ballet dancer since she was 3, said she learned a lot from the professional dancers at Broadway Dance Center.
“It was really hard, but I learned a lot from it,” Franksen said. “(The pros) definitely danced a lot, all day. It was intimidating but if you push yourself, you can achieve anything.”
Mandy McDonald, 16, said she stepped outside of her comfort zone to take a world jazz class. “I’d never done it before, but it’s nice to improve yourself. It made me want to take more classes I wouldn’t normally take,” she said.
The group also had the rare opportunity to study “Acting for Dancers” at Chelsea Studios with the renowned Kay Cummings of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Cummings is a mentor of Lake Forest Dance Academy's Company Director Valerie Gonzalez, who holds a Masters degree in dance from Tisch.
“[Cummings] talked to us about stage presence,” Grace Duffy, 16, said. “We talked about how we all have different stories in our heads when we dance and we usually draw from something we’re feeling or something relevant. Normally you focus on the steps and techniques, so it was about keeping it fun and growing every time you dance.”
The dancers also had a question-and-answer session with a current Radio City Music Hall Rockette. Kim Fletcher-Stibal, Academy faculty and Prelude Dance Theatre Co-Director, is a former Rockette, so the dancers were particularly intrigued by this special meeting, according to an LFDA release.
“Dance education is the hallmark of Lake Forest Dance Academy,” Academy Director Sandy said. “This tour provided our dancers with a premier opportunity to learn firsthand about the profession of dancing and to be immersed at the highest level of the art form. This trip exemplifies our ongoing commitment to dance education, which we support annually through our many programs in all areas of dance.”
Registration for Lake Forest Dance Academy's 2012-2013 Season is currently underway. For more information, please contact Sandy Ragsdale at 847-810-3948 or visit the website.