by Terry Rogers
After a successful production of Beauty and the Beast, Tatiana Akinfieva Dance Academy (TADA) and Diamond Dance Company are preparing for their upcoming season. Their upcoming recital is planned for Wednesday, June 13 and there will also be summer classes offered at the dance academy.
“Our production of Beauty and the Beast was absolutely spectacular,” Misty Yencer, Director of TADA, said. “The dancers did an amazing job and, as usual, they made us very proud. All of the hard work that went into it for months and months was definitely obvious as you watched the performance. As we are packing up and breaking down after our last show, it’s hard for us to believe that it’s over that fast.”
Aimee String, who is also a Director, pointed out that this had been an extremely incredible year for TADA. In January, dancers competed at the JUMP Regional Dance Convention in Baltimore, bringing home numerous awards and scholarships. One of those awards was the Best of JUMP Award. Both TADA and Diamond Dance attended the Delaware Dance Festival where dancers also brought home awards and scholarships. String said that TADA Dancers have been accepted and won scholarships to numerous summer programs, including the Pennsylvania Regional Ballet, Burklyn Ballet and Complexions Dance Academy.
“We are so proud of these accomplishments,” String stated. “But, honestly, my favorite ones are the ones that most people will never hear about, like the look on a dancer’s face when they land a perfect triple pirouette for the first time; the way the big kids look out for our little ones; watching dancers silently cheer on their friends from backstage with tears of joy streaming down their faces. Those are the moments that really stick with me from this year.”
The recital on June 13 is a time for the dancers to showcase all the work they have done over the year. Audience members will see a variety of dance styles, including classical ballet, contemporary, jazz, creative movement and tap. The dancer’s ages range from 2½ to 16. In addition, two $300 scholarships will be awarded at the recital to further a dancer’s training in memory of Jen Wiley, whose daughter Ava, is a student at TADA. Wiley passed away last year after a horseback riding accident.
“The Wiley family donated a sum of money to TADA last year and asked us to use it to help another dancer,” String said. “The money has been sitting in our account because it was important to our staff to use the money in a way that would really honor Jen. She was a bright light in the studio. She always had a smile on her face and had the nicest things to say to the staff and all of the dancers. Establishing a scholarship fund in Jen’s name is a way for us to really honor her on an ongoing basis. Through fundraisers, we have been able to add to the scholarship fund to ensure we can keep it going for years. The scholarship winners will be dancers who bring joy to the dance studio, show a passion for dance and are just a pleasure to work with.”
Classes are offered over the summer and information can be found on TADA’s Facebook page and website at http://tada-ballet.com/class-schedule. The smallest dancers, starting at 2½, can attend creative movement camps while older dancers can attend intensive camps at the intermediate and advanced level. Advanced dancers are able to improve their skills learning from some of the greatest master teachers in this area and beyond. The 4-week intensive includes 17 master teachers who will teach classes in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, modern, musical theater, variations and partnering.
“We are most excited about the upcoming season,” Yencer said. “It marks the 20th anniversary of Diamond Dance Company. What many people don’t realize is Diamond Dance Company is extremely unique because our performing company and our dance school, TADA, together operate as a nonprofit organization. We are the only dance organization in Kent and Sussex County where the affiliated dance school is also a nonprofit rather than a for-profit business.”
TADA and Diamond Dance Company will again perform the Nutcracker in December at Milford High School and will bring back the comedy ballet, Coppelia, in 2019.
“This was one of my grandmother, Tatiana’s, favorite ballets,” Yencer said. “So what better way to celebrate our founder and the tremendous success of Diamond Dance Company than to perform one of her favorites. Auditions for our 20th season will be held Saturday, August 18 at TADA with times announced at a later date.”
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