THEY STOPPED THE SHOW
Whenever we arrive at a competition, there will always be a moment when it’s the first day of school; a moment when everyone else looks more talented, more confident, more prepared.
Well, that only lasts a moment. Then we hit it, and there is no looking back.
Our studio swept last weekend’s American National Dance Championship’s Showstoppers in Denver with performances that caused one judge to say, “This is some of the best work we have seen in competitions throughout the country.”
Our team, ages 8 to 18, took 1st place in every age category they competed in, bringing home eight golds, seven platinums and one double platinum, which qualified them for the national competition in California this summer. This was accomplished against a field of more than 500 competitors in each category.
Tonight, these dancers will join the rest of our talented performing artists for our biggest showcase of the year.
“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.”
The dreamer behind tonight’s stunning Midsummer Night’s Dream segment is our gifted teacher/choreographer Dana Peterson. Dana, the Center’s 2015 Teacher of the Year, has been a vibrant part of the Center since joining us in 2009.
It’s a bittersweet time for all of us since Dana will be leaving to have a baby. She shared her thoughts about dance and teaching.
“I started dancing at age 3 because I loved the music, the art and that I could think of nothing else when I danced,” she said. “Over time, I would leave dance but felt part of my soul was missing and had to return. When I moved to Glenwood Springs in 2009, I immediately found the Center and took classes with Maurine Taufer, and I knew I was home. In 2010, I began teaching high school girls and felt an immediate connection — I felt like I was looking at myself. I saw so much potential and wanted to mentor them in life skills as well as dance. We talked a lot about the future outside of dance, being the best they could be whatever their path. But I knew they would always see life through the prism of artistic expression, and that was everything. Working with all this talent has been transformative. Maurine Taufer and her amazing dance program, my colleagues Laura Bahr, Katie Deyoe and Christina Brusig have enriched my life. Now that I think about it, every time I have left dance, I have returned. It’s impossible not to.”
Like Dana, Peyton Ogren found the magic of dance young. Peyton is in her third year of dance at the Center — she is 4 and a half years old. Her mother, Lora Ogren, remembers her first recital.
“I knew Peyton was hooked on dance when we walked into the Art Center and the senior dance company was rehearsing,” she said. “She was practically moved to tears watching them. She was determined she was going to dance with them one day.
I have never seen Peyton more in her element than this week rehearsing for Dancers Dancing. Last night she told me her favorite part of the recital is being on stage for the bows following Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’m sure it’s because of the opportunity to share the stage with all her heroes.
I asked Peyton about her classes, and she said, “They are fun, and I never want to quit. I like to learn new stuff.” I asked her about her teachers, and she said, “I love them all.” Recently, she actually said this: “Dance is my life.”
Our dancers, from 3 to 18, keep us focused on why the Center for the Arts exists — to discover, encourage and nurture the talent in everyone, whether it is dance, art or music.
This weekend is not about a dance recital, it is about a dance experience. The reason to be there is the reason we are all drawn to art — it feeds the soul and is as essential as the air we breathe. Your support keeps the arts alive in the valley.
See you this weekend, and we’ll make a memory “while these visions did appear.”
Christina Brusig is the executive director of the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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