The Footwork Dance Ensemble, a newly-formed group out of Jo’s Footwork Studio in the Western Springs Recreation Center, will present their first public performance on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Lyons Township High School South Campus as part of a benefit for both the ensemble themselves and HIV/AIDS charities Dance For Life Fund and The Children’s Place Association of Chicago.
Entitled “Winter Interlude,” the performance will feature five different short dance pieces in the styles of jazz, tap, modern, ballet and hip-hop, interspersed with performances by professionals “Scuba” Steve Gorski and Andrea Parson (both also guest choreographers) and dance troupe Matrix.
The Ensemble is a resurrection of a long-dormant program at Jo’s, brought back at the end of last summer by artistic director Connie Sweeney, daughter of studio owners John and Chris Fagan and a former member of the troupe’s old incarnation.
“We were looking for another way for kids to perform, other than just once a year in June… especially the ones who are serious about it,” Sweeney said.
She also emphasized the Ensemble’s desire to eschew points-based scoring in favor of community enjoyment of a routine. “Nowadays, it’s [often] about competing and winning awards,” said Sweeney. “We’re trying to bring back that aspect of just getting out there to perform and entertain for the community.”
The 17-student ensemble, ranging from ages 10 to 17, is Ellen Stenner, Moira McDermott, Laurel Piper, Morgan Sides, Katie Sindelar and Kayla Vercelli of Western Springs, Nicole Eichelman, Kate Gabriel and Heidi Rose Stoffer of Hinsdale, Rachel Bakalich, Sheridan Spiess and Ellen Stenner of La Grange Park, Ellison Bonner and Megan Foster of Elmhust, Claire Foley of La Grange, Melody Rowland of Burr Ridge and Kimberly Benson of Clarendon Hills.
The Footwork Ensemble will also perform with a number of other local studios at the Dance For Life fundraiser on March 4 at Wheeling High School.
For tickets to the Feb. 18 show, visit contact Jo’s Footwork Studio at 708-246-6878 or visit their website, www.josfootworkstudio.com.