Children who come home in the next few weeks hankering to put on tights and a leotard will probably have been inspired by a group of dancers from Footlight Dance Company making their annual rounds.
Seventeen of the valley's best young dancers will take their performance of "Patterns—Visualize, Design and Dance" on a tour of local schools this week to expose dance to thousands of children.
The senior-level dancers, under the direction of Footlight Dance Company's Hilarie Neely, will not just dance for students but will also interact and engage them in the topic of patterns in their daily lives.
"Many of our dancers train as athletes, taking five to six classes per week," Neely said.
She said that in addition to a requirement of Pilates conditioning, they also rehearse weekends for five weeks prior to the
She said the resulting performances always prove a rewarding highlight for the company dancers as they assume the life of a touring professional but still keep up their class work at school.
"It's a wonderful experience to perform for their peers and younger students as they discover dance as an art form," she said.
Over the years, Footlight dancers have performed for more than 50,000 students. Their mission has been to demonstrate dance and other collaborating art forms in an exciting and educational setting to help expose children to all of the arts.
This year's program, titled "Patterns--Visualize, Design, Dance" challenges the audience to interpret patterns in their lives as they watch the dances and sets. Each set contains patterns in space and music based on patterns and connections to relationships socially and culturally.
There also will be discussion of math and physics as dancers illustrate patterns and dynamics of movement through ballet, modern, jazz, tap and hip hop dance forms.
Choreography for this performance has been set by Footlights' faculty members—Shellrae Garnes, Anne Winton, Michele Minailo, and Neely with guest choreographers Dantzel Cherry and Jaime Moore.
The tour began with a performance appearance at the Idaho Dance Arts Alliance "Freeze Frame" performance in Twin Falls at the CSI Fine Arts Theater. The tour of schools will be launched Thursday, Feb. 2, at the Community School.
The 14 dancers hail from Wood River High School, one from the middle school and two from the Community School.
Seven seniors—Annie Heiner, Jonnie Pedersen, Ingrid Peterson, Isobel Pollock, Quincy Rainey, Courtney Skeahan and Annette Taylor—will be participating in their final year of performances. Heiner, Rainey, Skeahan and Taylor have been dancing with Footlight since they were 4 years old.
For more information, contact Neely at 578-5462.
Tour of schools:
- Community School, Ketchum: Thursday, Feb. 2, at 12:30 p.m.
- Woodside Elementary School: Hailey, Friday, Feb. 3, 9 a.m.
- Bellevue Elementary School: Friday, Feb. 3, at 1:10 p.m.
- Hemingway Elementary School, Ketchum: Monday, Feb. 6, at 8:15 a.m.
- Carey School: Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 9:45 a.m.
- Wood River Middle School, Hailey: Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 2:10 p.m.
- Wood River High School, Hailey: Thursday, Feb. 9, at 2:40 p.m.
- Hailey Elementary School: Friday, Feb. 10, 9 a.m.