Armstrong Dance 2009 Recital

by imageguy

On Saturday and Sunday this past weekend, Armstrong School of Dance gave their annual performances at Ithaca College’s Ford Hall Auditorium.  This one was a special one for more than one reason. It was Armstrong’s 15th anniversary, but it was also my daughter, Tessa’s final recital since she is one of the six graduating seniors on the dance team. They still have their competition at Tremain yet to attend this summer, but classes are done, the last recital is finished, and Armstrong will be an extended family that, like her mom and I, must let her go to grow and study as she heads off to Ohio Wesleyan in the fall. Since photography is not allowed during the actual performances, all of these photos are from dress rehearsals, with the exception of the goodbye images at the end.

As usual the performances are broken up into two groups. The wee kids (ages 3 – 9) and the older kids (ages 10 – 18). Otherwise it would simply go way too long and the girls who teach as well as dance would be thoroughly exhausted. The team dancers perform at both events so need a break in between. My daughter pointed out to me that she was on stage performing 14 times during each day, so it takes a lot of stamina. She taught little kids this year again so was on stage with the smallest peanuts. These kids are so cute and so entertaining to watch.

I can remember when Tessa began at about age 9. She was primarily interested in taking Hip-Hop classes but eventually got the bug for the whole package. She was resistant to taking ballet, but once in the classes, I believe she realized how essential all the styles were to developing as a well rounded dancer and the idea of being a team dancer became a strong desire and goal. Since being on the team, they’ve gone on to win a national championship, scads of trophies and awards, have performed in so many venues and taken classes with major choreographers. She was in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade last year and her dance has added so much to her performances with school and theater outside of Armstrong. It’s been worth all the driving, the shoes and costumes, the traveling and expense. Watching her grow and dance and perform has touched me so deeply and made me so proud. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

The six graduating senior girls were all given the opportunity to choreograph their own duets. It’s a great time to give the spotlight to these girls who have worked so hard and now are leaving the team to make way for younger girls to move up.

Every year we have attended these performances, I am drawn to the dancing of a few young girls who just seem to stand out from the crowd and it has been so remarkable to see them grow, as our daughter has, and know that they will become soon, the next generation of team girls. You can just see it in their expression, concentration, and grace.

I thought that this year, the choreography was exceptional. A few of the numbers were my favorites and were so very impressive. A great jazz number done to “All That Jazz”.  The huge performance that combined two different classes to create an amazing version of “Riverdance”. The incredible high energy of “Rock This Party”.  The absolutely gorgeous and touching lyrical piece to “Orphans of God” brought tears to my eyes. The fabulous tap piece to “Din Da Da”. And of course, the always impressive precision number with the huge line of girls dancing to “Please Don’t Stop The Music”.

I want to say thanks to all of the wonderful people at Armstrong School of Dance. They have given my daughter so much to enhance her life. Poise, grace, strength, confidence, friendship, caring, community and family. Thanks to Karen Gorsky, Ann Armstrong, all the teachers this year and in the past, and to all the wonderful dancers who have been such great friends and have entertained us so magnificently. We have loved it all so much. And thank you Tessa, for your dedication, your beautiful, graceful performances, your love of the music and the people and the stage. You have given your mother and me a wonderful gift by letting us watch you dance. But on to new and more wonderful things. You’re the best.

“Dancer Girl”

Images are Copyright © George Cannon, All Rights Reserved.

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