This weekend will highlight a continuous effort put forth by the students at the Shepherdstown School of Dance as they perform on the Frank Center stage for their spring show.
A work in progress for months, the students are now prepared to share their talents with friends and family as they present a variety of numbers highlighting the work ethic they adhere to throughout the year.
The art of dance is not one that comes without hard work. The students practice each week, often for hours at a time, to perfect dance moves and timing. Students consider the efforts not so much as a challenge but as enjoyment.
"I really like being able to dance with my best friends," shared Sarah Baldau, age 10, who has been a student at the school for six years.
Skye Thomann, 12, echoed those sentiments saying that the multiple hours put in each week are "not really difficult." Although she shared that she is a little nervous about the performances this weekend, she said that working on the show since February has helped prepare her.
Many of the older students at the school had a recent opportunity to travel to Charleston to attend the West Virginia Dance Festival where they took classes and performed.
Sadie Arnold shared that her favorite classes revolved around modern dance although she took other classes as well. The three day event had the students dancing each day as well as taking instruction from professional dancers.
"We got a better view of being dedicated to dance," said Ariel Cifala.
Kelsey Eackles, who had attended the Festival in previous years, shared that she felt this year was an even better experience because of the larger group that traveled to the state capitol.
"Having the larger group allowed us to experience more things," she said.
Upon their return to Shepherdstown, the group has been making final preparations for the spring performance this weekend. This show will feature the final performance for senior Dominic Massamino. One of the pillars of the school, according to Romine, Massamino will head to West Virginia University this fall. He will dance the traditional wedding Pas de Deux from Don Quixote with Eackles, someone he has partnered with many times over the years.
Romine joined with Mercedes Prohaska to open the dance studio in 2003. She says that the business has only grown since then.
Originally the school produced one show per year in the spring; however, Romine said they added "The Nutcracker" in 2006 as a Christmas performance. The spring performance is a welcome challenge as it always brings variety to the stage rather than being a set show.
During this year's performance, the dancers will be joined in one number by local musician Steve Cifala who will sing and play piano as the students dance. A completely unique addition to the show, it allows the students to perform beyond their traditional boundaries.
The students have learned traditional moves to accompany many of the songs in the spring performance as well as choreography arranged by Romine.
"We try for variety, even within the ballet," Romine shared. "We learn the traditional dances as well." The dancers participating in the show range from the early beginners to the advanced students. They have all spent this week prior to the show perfecting moves, fitting costumes and having fun at what they do. They welcome the public to come see them perform.
The show can be seen Saturday, April 27 at 7 p.m. or Sunday, April 28 at 2 p.m. at the Frank Center on Shepherd University's campus. Cost for tickets in advance is $12 or $15 at the door. Advanced tickets can be purchased at Encore. For more information, call 304-876-3040.