Local dancers bound for Broadway

Published 9:16 pm Monday, July 23, 2018

The movies have Los Angeles. Singers go to Nashville. Gamblers gather in Las Vegas.

For dancers, the pinnacle is in New York City, on Broadway, and few have a chance to see it. But a group of dancers from Brookhaven Dance Academy will get that chance this weekend when they see the historic stages, meet the industry’s top performers and dance under the lights in Manhattan’s Minskoff Theatre.

“I am beyond excited,” said Juliana Beeson, 12, a competitive dancer with BDA. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and I can’t wait to showcase our talent.”

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Seventeen Brookhaven and Lincoln County girls and a group of parents from BDA leave out of Brookhaven Wednesday for a five-day trip to the Big Apple, where Friday they will perform Mandisa’s “Oh My Lord” on the Minskoff stage, current home of the Broadway musical “The Lion King.”

The girls will attend another Broadway musical, “Aladdin,” that evening and, after the show, go backstage to meet the cast.

Saturday, the group will perform in Times Square alongside other dance troupes to commemorate National Dance Day. Sunday morning begins with a Disney workshop featuring the company’s top teaching artists, who will show the girls some moves from the award-winning musical “Frozen.”

Lessons continue Sunday afternoon with a dance workshop hosted by Lindsay Arnold from the TV show “Dancing with the Stars,” who will show the Brookhaven dancers one of her routines from the show and host a Q&A about the dance industry.

Sunday evening closes with a cruise into the bay hosted by surprise celebrities from the TV shows “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Dancing with the Stars” and “World of Dance.”

Monday, BDA will make its way home.

“This is a huge opportunity for the dancers,” said BDA Director Laura McDaniel. “It will open their eyes to so much more in the world of dance, and it can create a fire within them to pursue dance as a career. I want them to know it’s not just through high school and college, then it stops — I want this trip to open their eyes and make them realize every Broadway dancer started out small.”

Brookhaven Dance Academy launched in 2004 and is hosted through a partnership with the Brookhaven Recreation Department to teach all forms of dance. Signup information for the upcoming fall season can be found at the department office on Hwy 51. North.