Dancing with a wizard

By MIKE CHAIKEN
EDITIONS EDITOR
There will be a spark of dance excitement courtesy of a certain wizard this weekend.
And at the end of the night, there will be some grateful community organizations accepting the proceeds.
On Saturday, The Dance City and the Arts Dance Team are holding a benefit for the United Way of Southington with their fourth, “Dance United.”
Julie Rizzo, director of the school, explained, “The kids are going to be performing all of their team routines. Those are all the routines that they do for competition… This is the unveiling of their team performances for the year.”
“They have solos and duos and productions and small groups…This is our big practice show for competition (season) so we’re going to have all of our team makeup and all of the outfits they’re going to wear.”
Rizzo said, “It should be really entertaining.”
The centerpiece of the evening will be a production number based on the Harry Potter movies, said Rizzo.
Erin Mitchell, 17, one of the dancers, said the Harry Potter production is her favorite of the night.
“It’s just really cool and fun,” said Erin. “It’s so theatrical. There’s a story to it. Everybody’s into it and everyone’s excited about it.”
Meg Coyle , 12, also said the Harry Potter production is her favorite. As a dancer, she said she likes it because it joins the talents of all the different levels of students at Dance City and the Arts as they rehearse it. “Normally, we’re not all here on the same day,” she said.
Meg said audiences will like the Harry Potter production because “it’s really fun. We’re enjoying it so they’re going to enjoy it.”
“It’s all the musical scores from the story that everyone will recognize,” said Erin. “It’s a mix (of dance styles). It’s tap. It’s contemporary. And it’s kind of jazzy.”
Audiences will enjoy it, Erin said, “because everyone knows Harry Potter and everyone loves Harry Potter…They’ll know the story. They’ll be able to follow it. They’ll get excited about it. And there’s a lot of crazy things happening.”
The sounds of Jennifer Lopez also will fill the hall when the dancers perform to J. Lo’s “Let’s Get Loud.”
Madison Burns, 11, explained the large group dance routine is her favorite, “It’s really pumped. We have a lot of fun with it.” And because the dancers are having fun — and they’re smiling, Madison said the audience will have fun.”
Jessica Mollin, 14, also said “Let’s Get Loud” was her favorite routine of the night. “It’s really fun. It’s upbeat… And it’s a great time.
Madison Bennett, 13, said her favorite dance of the evening is “Sounds of Silence” “because it’s my favorite style of dance—contemporary. It’s soft and flowy, and really pretty.” Audiences will like the message of the dance, said Madison Bennett, because “it’s something we can connect to because nowadays were all on our phones and don’t get to spend a lot of time with each other.”
Maya Hennessey, 13, said her favorite dance of the evening is “Unsquare Dance.” She explained, “It’s a combination of two styles of dance.It has the tappers (such as herself), who are the music. We’re mimicking the entire song with tap shoes. The ballerinas are the dancers behind us. It’s a little bit unique. It’s not something you see everyday. Normally, you’d see just one style of dance. Even if it’s a production, it would be jazz and tap. But this is ballet and tap. You’d think it would be the total opposite since tap is kind of loud and ballet is kind of soft and flowy.”
The routines for “Dance United” are destined for competition performances all over the region. But for this event, the dancers will have a chance to perform for their family, friends, and the local community.
“I feel like it’s a little more comfortable (performing before a home audience),” said Maya. “But at the same time it’s the stage, honestly. It just feels like home no matter where you are…At the same time, it’s nice to have an audience you would see every day.”
Madison Burns said, “I like (performing in the home area) because you get to show everyone what you’ve been working on and how hard you’ve been working on it. It’s really nice.”
“I like it because all of your family gets to come,” said Meg. “And not everyone can make it to the competitions, which are really long, especially when you’re mainly interested in your studio and the people you want to see.”
Madison Bennett said, “It gives us a chance to get a feel for our dances on stage before we perform it at a competition and get judged.”
“It’s definitely different,” said Erin of performing in her hometown. “It’s less stressful in some ways because there’s not the stress of what score we’re going to get and how we’re going to place. But then it’s more stressful because there are going to be people in the audience you go to school with. And you’re thinking, ‘Did I do well?’”
“And then at the same time,” said Erin, “there are people who don’t know if we have good technique so it’s a little more relaxed in that way.”
“It’s really cool because you see people you know,” said Jessica. “It’s great to see them supporting the community because it’s for the United Way. It’s fun to perform them and for them to see how much hard work we put into this.”
And ultimately the show is about helping those who need help, said the dancers.
“We’re helping the community and it’s a great way to get involved just to help people out. There’s tough times and people need help,” said Jessica.
“It’s fun,” said Erin of the evening of dance. “You may see more people than you think you know that you didn’t realize danced here. It’s fun to see what your friends are doing.”
The Dance City and the Arts Dance Team presents “Dance United” at Derynoski Elementary School, 240 Main St., Southington on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 and all proceeds will go to the United Way of Southington. Tickets are available at Dance City and the Arts and the United Way, both in the Factory Square building at 37 West Center St. in Southington, and at the door.

PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN

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Students at Dance City and the Arts rehearse a routine for ‘Dance United.’

Students at Dance City and the Arts rehearse a routine for ‘Dance United.’

Students at Dance City and the Arts rehearse a routine for ‘Dance United.’

Students at Dance City and the Arts rehearse a routine for ‘Dance United.’

Students at Dance City and the Arts rehearse a routine for ‘Dance United.’

Students at Dance City and the Arts rehearse a routine for ‘Dance United.’

Students at Dance City and the Arts rehearse a routine for ‘Dance United.’

Students at Dance City and the Arts rehearse a routine for ‘Dance United.’

Students at Dance City and the Arts rehearse a routine for ‘Dance United.’

Students at Dance City and the Arts rehearse a routine for ‘Dance United.’

Erin Sullivan rehearses for ‘Dance United,’ which will be presented Saturday by Dance City and the Arts.

Erin Sullivan rehearses for ‘Dance United,’ which will be presented Saturday by Dance City and the Arts.

Erin Sullivan rehearses for ‘Dance United,’ which will be presented Saturday by Dance City and the Arts.

Erin Sullivan rehearses for ‘Dance United,’ which will be presented Saturday by Dance City and the Arts.

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