Local dancers travel to London to perform during Olympics

Sixteen dancers will travel to London with a parent or adult and teachers from Northland School of Dance to perform in and around the Olympic Village from July 28 to Aug. 5. Pictured here are the dancers from Champlin and Dayton who will be participating. From left to right are: Bella Acitelli, Dayton, incoming 6th grader at Kaleidoscope Charter School; Adam Aponte, Champlin, incoming senior at Champlin Park High School, Corrie Dunn, choreographer at Northland School of Dance; Thomas Aponte, Champlin, incoming freshman at CPHS; and Aria Nelson, Champlin, incoming 8th grader at Jackson Middle School. (Photo by Mindy Mateuszczyk)

Sixteen dancers will travel to London with a parent or adult and teachers from Northland School of Dance to perform in and around the Olympic Village from July 28 to Aug. 5. Pictured here are the dancers from Champlin and Dayton who will be participating. From left to right are: Bella Acitelli, Dayton, incoming 6th grader at Kaleidoscope Charter School; Adam Aponte, Champlin, incoming senior at Champlin Park High School, Corrie Dunn, choreographer at Northland School of Dance; Thomas Aponte, Champlin, incoming freshman at CPHS; and Aria Nelson, Champlin, incoming 8th grader at Jackson Middle School. (Photo by Mindy Mateuszczyk)

Three dancers from Champlin and one from Dayton will be heading to London July 28 to perform at various venues in and around the Olympics including at the Olympic Village.

The dancers are traveling as part of a group of 16 dancers from Champlin’s Northland School of Dance who were invited to participate in the trip. While the dance studio’s choreographer, Corrie Mae Dunn, first participated in an Olympic dance performance tour in Atlanta in 1996, the studio as a whole began participating in 2000 traveling to Australia and again in 2008 with a contigent traveling to China.

“We are one of the few studios who is asked to come back year after year because they really enjoy our kids and parents, their attitude and how welcome they are,” said Dunn.

The 9-day trip will be a whirlwind of multiple performances along with some sightseeing. Performances will sometimes be the group dancing alone and other times dancing with other musicians or dancers. Even a flash mob is in the works. While the trip combines aspects of vacationing, such as trips to see Buckingham Palace, Stonehenge, the Windsor Castle, St. Paul Cathedral and more, it is a demanding schedule with the performers expected to rise around 6 a.m. each day with the prospect of not returning to their hotel until well past 9 or 10 p.m. each night.

Adam Aponte, an incoming senior at Champlin Park High School, participated in the China performance tour and is looking forward to London.

“It’s an amazing experience all around being able to travel to a different country and perform,” he said. “The Olympics brings people from all over the world. The different cultures you experience, you can’t replace that.”

Dunn added that while all the dancers traveling to London are competitive dancers, the experience provided through this opportunity to watch other performers and their styles of dance is invaluable.

“You can’t get that at a dance competition,” she said.

The group will also have the opportunity to do pin trading with other performance groups. Each group comes with pins specifically representing them and trade for pins from other groups. It is one of the ways individuals can approach each other, facilitating the cultural experience.

The group will perform nine times while in London. Dunn says their routine is an upbeat, high-energy jazz number featuring some partnering work and some all-boy sections. Twelve girls and 4 boys are attending.

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