Everyone deserves a chance. In fact, everyone deserves a chance to dance.
On Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 3 and 4, young dancers who have been given just that chance will gather at Betsy's Ballroom in Yarmouth for two dance performances as the Icons and Idols event raises funds for the Chance to Dance program based at Chatham's Studio 878.
The pursuit of ballroom training is prohibitively expensive for many youngsters. It requires not only private training with a professional but dance shoes for growing feet, regulation dance wear, competition fees and travel expenses. Through the Chance to Dance program, Adam Spencer, known to many by his studio name, Adam in Chatham, acting under the umbrella of Studio 878 Trust, provides an opportunity for Cape Cod children and teens, regardless of financial constraints, to train with him and compete in ballroom and Latin dance. Adam in Chatham and Studio 878 Trust provide instruction, footwear, appropriate attire and the other costs associated with dance training and competition for young students, many of whom have extremely limited financial resources.
The benefits of dance for children include a boost to confidence, encouragement of creativity, improved health and well-being, improved sense of community and teamwork skills, development of social skills, improved focus, a safe atmosphere in which to experience friendly competition, dedication and commitment. Sometimes, the positive effects show themselves in unexpected ways.
“My soccer skills improved after I started studying ballroom dance in February,” says 9-year old fourth grader Soren Jones-Carlson, who will show his ballroom dance skills along with partner Larkin Fox, also 9, in the Idols and Icons show. Soren, who has always been interested in dance and was encouraged by his parents to try out, says that after three competitions he still feels a little bit nervous before a performance, but feels “Fine. Good and happy,” afterwards. His favorite thing about dance? The good feeling of accomplishment when his teacher, Adam, encourages him to try harder stuff – and he successfully learns it.
“We love Adam,” says Soren's mom, Adrienne. “He does so much for the kids. We just can't say enough.”
Larkin Fox, who turns 10 this week, began ballet at age 4 and took up ballroom seven months ago when her tap teacher, Terry Norgeot, recommended lessons with Adam.
“I enjoy that ballroom has so many different styles,” Larkin says. What's it like to dance with a partner at the age of 9? “I never really danced with a partner before except in ballet, and it was a little challenging at first, but it quickly got better. I never feel nervous before I dance. Just excited and a bit anxious. Then I feel really happy that I put on a good show.”
Olivia Pfleger, age 14, a ninth grader, started ballet at age 3 and ballroom in January after watching Dancing with the Stars on television.
“I found it interesting and inspiring, and I wanted to give it a try,” Olivia recalls. “Adam makes learning fun and easy. I am fortunate to dance with Adam as my partner in the showcase this weekend. I am sure I will feel a little bit nervous waiting before we dance, but afterwards, it is such a great feeling when the crowd loves it. It brings joy to them, it brings joy to me. It's a real win-win.”
Two performances, on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7:45 p.m. and a Sunday matinee Dec. 4 at 2 p.m., will raise funds to support Chance to Dance. The Saturday performance will include open ballroom dancing before and after the show with the Bart Weisman Jazz Group, featuring Leslie Boyle. Tickets are $18, $25 and $75, with all proceeds benefiting the Chance to Dance Youth Scholarship Program.
To purchase tickets for Idols and Icons, visit www.adaminchatham.com/icons-idols or call 508-320-1465 for more information.