Dacners from the European School of the Performing Arts will perform in November's International Arts Festival, in China.
BY PAULA BUCK | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Eighteen dancers, ages 13-18, from Ormond Beach's European School of the Performing Arts, at 360 Tomoka Ave., have been invited to the International Arts Festival, occurring in November, in Shanghai. But first, they need funding.
“We are the only youth group invited from the United States of America," Janet Peburn, mother of one of the dancers, Annalisa, said. "It is an honor and a privilege for us."
But to transport almost 20 dancers, three teachers, one wardrobe assistant, a group photographer, a group physician and an interpreter across the world can get expensive. That's why the school launched an online initiative last month to fundraiser for their trip.
A 15-year-old festival, the event represents all of the arts, and past performers have included names such as tenor Placido Domingo, violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and more. But organizers emphasize that “it’s also a festival for ordinary people.”
Last year, the festival drew more than 3,300 performers, who showed off their skills in various neighborhoods, streets and parks.
European School of Performing Arts Co-director Germaine Bledsoe, who runs the studio with her mother, Lori Smoak, says that the dancers have been asked to perform “genres representative of the United States."
"We will do 14-16 dances during the week," she said. "We are bringing primarily jazz, modern dance, musical theater, tap and a contemporary piece based on a folk dance.”
Parents Leigh Anne Giles, whose daughter Laken is scheduled to go to China, and Anne Marie Muldowney, whose daughters Alanna and Carolyn will also participate, join Janet Peburn as leaders of the fundraisers.
"ESPA is like a family,” Giles says. “The girls have been with the school since they were toddlers. We’re all just thrilled that they will be able to share their talent and show their great training and hard work!”
Moolah for dance moves
To help 18 young dancers from the European School of the Performing Arts travel to China to perform in the 15th-annual International Arts Festival, call 863-677-6316, email [email protected] or visit facebook.com/espainternationalartsfestivaltrip to donate.