NORWICH – The Perkins School of the Arts began delivering creativity and a passion for dance to thousands of girls and boys from their studio on Birdsall Street in downtown Norwich 15 years ago.
Everything started when former studio owner Bernie Windsor approached Mike and Antoinette Perkins with the opportunity to purchase her business and, as the story goes, the decision to do so was made in quick succession. With daughter Amber fresh out of college as principal choreographer/teacher and later, son and brother, Mikey, keeping the ball rolling, the studio evolved much like the universe burst through the skies billions of years back.
To celebrate the occasion, the aptly named annual recital, “The Big Bang,” will take place this coming weekend, June 8-10, in the Norwich High School auditorium on Midland Drive. Senior dance performances are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The junior dancers will hit the stage in matinees at 1 p.m. on Saturday and again on Sunday.
It’s difficult for Mikey Perkins to wrap his head around it, but the first class of 3-year-olds he ever taught are now high school seniors.
“It’s exciting. You get so attached to your students. You see them grow, sometimes as much or even more than their parents have. They ask for your advice and treat you like family. I’m going to miss them so much,” said Perkins, who was a high school senior when he began teaching.
The show’s featured performance, “Six Minutes to the Moon,” is a large group modern piece with 30 dancers who will recreate the average American’s reactions while watching the 1969 Apollo II landing on the moon on TV. As the broadcast proceeds, the music changes tempo and the dancers express varying degrees of fear, excitement, pride and finally, resolve to move forward. All is expressed through choreography with help of pearls, polka dots and I Love Lucy-period costuming.