NORWICH — Local dance studio Perkins School of the Arts is holding their annual recital this weekend, which commemorates their 25th year of operation.
Tickets to this year's recital, called "When Stars Align," are $15. The recital will feature three separate shows held in the Norwich High School auditorium on Friday, June 10 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, June 11 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
"We are actually doing our show differently this year because we’re actually integrating all the older kids and the younger kids together, so we’re doing three separate shows," said Studio Director Mike Perkins. "We have young kids that are three years old and each show has the young ones, and then you can also see the older kids that are more advanced. We even have some adults that are dancing in the show. So it’s a wide range and it’s just very diverse."
"Each show has a little bit of a different flavor to it, and it’s cool because we're back in the high school. So it’s nice to be back because we haven’t been here because of COVID, and then last year we were at the Arts Council. So it’s nice to be back here. It’s a lot of fun because this is where we started," he added.
Dancers at Perkins School of the Arts spend ten months learning their chosen dance style, which can range from tap to jazz to ballet, gymnastics, adagio, and many more, which culminates in the annual recital at the end of the season.
"It’s been really cool coming back after the pandemic because so many kids have gotten so interested and everybody's trying new things," said Perkins. "So it’s really fun to see kids expand their horizons and try more new things than they have in the past."
Additionally, the school has brought back some of their alumni and given them the opportunity to choreograph performances, which will be featured both in the recital and at their upcoming National Competition.
"With it being our 25th year, we have a lot of alumni choreographing pieces. So it’s kind of like a full circle moment where we have people getting opportunities to not only just dance, but after they’ve graduated they can come back and really kind of add to the legacy and start working on their choreography as well, which is nice," said Perkins. "Some of the alumni have started working on pieces that they’re going to bring to Nationals with us, so they get some exposure and experience as a choreographer and as a teacher."
The dancers at Perkins School of the Arts are also coming off a recent win at the United States Tournament of Dance, a regional competition held in Binghamton last weekend, where the school took home the Top Studio trophy.
Last year, the school also had a performance place first out of approximately 1,300 entries at the United States Tournament of Dance National Championships. This year, they hope to maintain their title at the National Championship in Ottawa, Canada.
Perkins said participation in any competition is optional for students, although he always encourages them to perform.
"We try to encourage as many kids to do that, regardless of level or age, because it’s just a really great experience to see other schools and other styles, and really the experience is just wonderful for the kids. But it’s an optional thing," he explained. "We also try to encourage as many kids to go to compete regionally. I mean, they don’t have to, but we let anybody regardless of level go because it’s good for self-esteem and it’s good to work towards a goal. So we really encourage anybody that wants to go, to go."
For now though, the dancers, alumni, and instructors are focusing on their hometown recital this weekend. Perkins Dance Instructor and Alumni Alexis Race said although the studio comes from a small area, they produce talented dancers and want to share their performances with the community.
"As an alumni of the studio and now an instructor at the studio, coming from such a small town of Norwich, the legacy that Perkins does have internationally in the dance world is something that I think people might not realize coming from such a small community," said Race. " The talent that is produced here at Perkins School of the Arts is just unbelievable."
"Being able to come back and give back and teach as well as still continue to learn and develop as an instructor now is just an experience that I think a lot of people might take for granted coming from such a small town," she continued. "I think the community support in the arts is fantastic, and I think a really good turnout for this recital would be great."