Dance Syndicate takes the Big Apple

By: 
CHARLIE DENISON
Reporter
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Members of the Lewistown Dance Syndicate get ready for their performance on Broadway last month. From left back row: Lydia d’Hooge, Kate Sramek, Brooke Weinheimer, Tara Eller, and Tori Alexander. Bottom row, from left: Knoelle Ferguson, Morgan Pierce and Ireland Larson.

Photo courtesy of Janet Luciano

 

 

They came, they saw, they conquered.

Janet Luciano, eight Lewistown Dance Syndicate dancers and members of their families hit New York City with grace and tenacity last month, packing in as much as possible as quickly as possible.

“We were on a constant run from early in the morning until 10 p.m. every night,” said Luciano, Dance Syndicate Director. 

The group flew into New York City on July 19. The next day, they started three days of ballroom dancing at the Tremaine Convention.

That was quite the way to kick it off.

“The girls danced all day intensely from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” Luciano said. “After that many hours of dance you’ve done your physical work. After class it was time to go home, eat dinner and rest.”

The eight dancers did an excellent job, Janet said, as the Dance Syndicate finished the competition in fifth place (just one point behind fourth).

Following Tremain, the Dance Syndicate took classes at the Broadway Dance Center and Paridance Capezio Center.

“We picked ballet classes, jazz classes and contemporary classes,” Luciano said.

This got them ready for the main event: a performance in the New Amsterdam Theatre and a performance at Times Square.

“We were on Broadway as part of the Dance the World Organization,” Luciano said. “It was the craziest thing.”

With a group of 23 people, traveling around Manhattan had its challenges, but it was all worth it, Luciano said, as the kids had an experience of a lifetime.

“This isn’t about me,” she said. “This is about getting these kids the exposure. I love to watch their reactions. I love to watch their emotions. It’s amazing to watch their faces.”

The experience was phenomenal, Luciano said. Before their performance of a Beatles medley at the New Amsterdam Theatre, the dancers got to see “Dance Syndicate” on the marquee. 

“When we saw our name flash on the screen we were pretty excited,” she said, “and then we did the Beatles number I choreographed. We had an amazing time doing it. The kids did really well.”

This goes for the Time Square performance, too.

“There is this huge island in the middle of Times Square and the police literally blocked it off,” Luciano said. “It was amazing. There were around 250 dancers dressed alike. It was a sea of people. I kept saying, ‘hold on to each other.’ I’ve got to get you from Point A to Point B.’ It was immense. Unbelievable.”

When not performing, the Dance Syndicate crew went to see “Wicked” at the Gershwin Theatre and got to see their choice of either “Aladdin” or “Frozen.” They also went on a Harlem Gospel Tour, visited the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the Rockefeller Center, “Good Morning America,” the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and much more.

“We also went to the Joyce Theatre, where we saw a contemporary ballet class,” Luciano said. “I wanted the dancers to have a taste of the arts.” 

And that’s just what they did.

“It was pretty crazy, all the things we did and places we went to,” Luciano said. “I know a lot of the kids were tired. The adults were tired; that’s for sure.”

But no matter how intense the days were, they had to get up and do something else extraordinary the next day, be it singing and dancing at the Movement and Music Workshop or taking a ride on the “Spirit of New York” dinner cruise.

It’s hard to put it all into words, Luciano said, admitting that she’s still trying to recover from the grueling adventure, but that’s the way to do it. 

“If you’re going to New York from Montana, you’ve got to go big,” she said.

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