Donna Frech Dancers Take The Stage This Weekend
Published: June 17th, 2022
By: Sarah Genter

Donna Frech dancers take the stage this weekend Donna Frech School of Dance pre-dance students preparing for their recital performances this weekend (top) and the school’s production class (bottom). Production features a wide range of dance styles and follows a set theme each year. This year's theme is Las Vegas, and the piece will be opening all four recital shows. Older dancers will perform at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18, and younger students will be performing at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19. (Photos by Alicia Ross)

NORWICH — Dancers with the Donna Frech School of Dance will be hitting the stage in the Norwich High School auditorium during several shows this weekend as part of their 47th annual recital.

Performances from the older dancers will be held on Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18 at 7 p.m., and younger dancers will perform on Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19 at 1 p.m., with opening performances by the production class at all four shows.

"We’ve been doing production for, I’m going to say 40 years maybe, and basically we have a class where the students have to be versed in several styles of dance, and then we come up with a theme, and it depends upon the year," explained Donna Frech School of Dance Owner Donna Frech. "This year our theme is Vegas, so we do a lot of songs that have to do with luck and Las Vegas in a family friendly way, and we put the songs together and they’re like a combination. There’s some tap, there’s some jazz, there’s some musical theater in it, we throw a little bit of tumbling in there. So it’s like a whole mirage of different styles to a theme."

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The recitals also have their own overarching theme each year. Frech said this year's performance is titled "Synergy," to represent the dancers coming back together and working collectively again after the challenges brought on by the COVID pandemic.

"The definition of synergy is basically — it can mean a couple of things — but it’s basically when single people, individuals, work together to produce something together that’s amazing," she said. "That's kind of like what we did this year because last year was kind of difficult, and the year before because of COVID and restrictions, and we couldn’t have a regular show, and people were staying at home and they weren’t together."

"But this year was the first year that we actually got back to almost normal, so all the individual dancers kind of came back together and felt like a family, and came together to do something from many individuals to produce something together as one."

Attendees can expect a wide range of styles from the show, as dancers at Donna Frech have the option to take tap, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, acrobatics, hip hop, and production classes, as well as their unique musical theater class.

"We pick music or a song from a musical and then they learn to become the characters. They don’t actually sing, they lip sync, but we incorporate dance into that also, so it’s kind of like watching part of a Broadway show to see those different numbers," Frech explained. "We find that the students that are taking dance classes that eventually also add musical theater, they become better dancers because they project more on stage and there’s more personality because they learn to do that through those classes."

There are classes available for all ages as well, starting with children as young as three years old in pre-dance, which is a combination of tap, ballet, and tumbling classes.

"There’s probably age three to adults, and actually my mother, who has never missed any one of my recitals, she lives in South Carolina but she comes up every year for my recital to be in a little part," said Frech. "She is actually 89 years old, so we can say we have dancers from three to 89."

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Frech said the dancers have been hard at work all week to prepare for this weekend's recital, but they are also gearing up for their performance trip to Disney, which they take every three years.

"You have to turn in an audition tape and then they select studios from the auditions, and then we work with Disney to set up a performance trip," said Frech. "We usually go every three years, and we’ve gone every three years since 1998 except for the year that it was 9/11 because none of us wanted to get in a plane then, and so we skipped two years. And then last year we were supposed to go but with all the COVID closings we didn’t go. So this year is our year to go."

"It’s a really great experience. The kids love it, the families can take a vacation because we usually go for a week even though we only perform one day," she continued. "We also do a workshop with Disney cast members, so all the dancers get to do a workshop with them. So it’s a really neat experience and that’s why we go back all the time."

Frech said her studio has been in business for 47 years, and it's all due to the support of her dance families and the community, especially throughout the hardships and changes of COVID.

"I’m just so grateful for, first of all, my dance families to stick it out with me throughout COVID, and for the community because we’ve been here for 47 years and the community has been so supportive of us, otherwise obviously we wouldn’t be here anymore," she said. "But with my dance families who kind of stuck through it with COVID and the restrictions and when we had to close, and then when we came back things weren’t really normal. We had to do certain things that we weren’t used to, but they were there 100 percent."

Tickets to the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday performances can be purchased in advance for $14 by emailing, and can also be purchased at the door for $15.

"Anyone that does come to see the recital, they won’t be disappointed. It’s more than just, years ago a dance recital was a class came off stage, they did the little dance and then they walked off, and then another class came on," said Frech. "But ours is more like a performance like a Broadway show, because there’s so many different styles that we offer, so it’s not like one thing all the way through. So I do know that everybody would have a very enjoyable experience."

More information on the Donna Frech School of Dance can be found at or on the Donna Frech School of Dance Facebook page.