OLEAN – Neighborhood School of Dance has announced its next annual recitals – this year with community themes.
Olean Studio’s decades-long performance tradition is entering its 46th consecutive year, with the show scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 6 at Olean High School Auditorium.
This is the sixth year for the Port Allegany, Pennsylvania show, scheduled for 7 p.m. May 21 at Elementary School.
The “Welcome to the Neighborhood” theme will pay tribute to the supportive individuals, businesses and organizations that bring communities together. The recitals will close out the 2021-22 dance season, in which NSD owner Brittany Thierman has seen the studio emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than ever.
“We couldn’t have done this without our friends and neighbors, really,” Thierman said. “For several years we had to be smart, we had to think outside the box, we had to stay engaged. And all the while, the dancers and their families and all of our supporters have done what they always do: stay true to their passion for dance.
This year, NSD offered over 31 classes and workshops at Olean Studio and 17 in Port Allegany. They included options ranging from “Twinkle Stars” for toddlers, to ballet for grades 4-12, to tap dancing for adults, among the many offerings. Dancers range from 18 month olds to seniors. Each class will perform in front of the crowd at their respective venues.
Thierman said she remembered her first recital, when she too was a “shy and shy” 5-year-old NSD student.
“Everything seemed so big – the lights, the stage, the audience,” Thierman recalled. “I knew I was a pretty good dancer for my age, but some of the older kids seemed so much better. Could I keep up? Was it supposed to be so intimidating?
“But none of that mattered as soon as we got on stage,” she said. “I just kept doing all the moves with everyone. I smiled. It was great. I felt so free and happy. All those nerves just melted away. And it sparked a passion for dancing. that lasted a lifetime.
The Olean show will have 37 performances and the Port A show 25. Dance numbers will accompany tunes like “Dancing Queen”, “You’re My Best Friend”, “What Does the Fox Say?” and “Linked language”.
“Some of the songs were chosen for our ‘Welcome to the Neighborhood’ theme to showcase our community sponsors in a smart way,” Thierman said. “Like, ‘What is the fox saying?’ is for Fox Financial and “Tongue Tied” is for our friends at Southern Tier Communications Strategies.
Registrations in 2021-22 easily eclipsed 300 attendees between the two studios for the first time in two years — a 23% increase from the 2020-21 season.
“Dance and the performing arts are so important to the cultural fabric of a community,” said Thierman, who bought NSD in 2013 and remains a lead instructor. “We are so proud to play a small part in what makes our communities so vibrant and special.”