When two local dancers received the opportunity to visit New York?City and attend dance workshops with professional dancers, they jumped at the chance.
Freja Hager, an eighth grader, and Kayla Anderson, a sixth grader at Geneseo Middle School, are both dance students at Above the Barre in Davenport, Iowa. They were selected to make the trip to New York and attend the Steps on Broadway Workshops June 12 to 16.
“Certain people who really tried and showed that dance was their passion were selected to go by Above the Barre instructors,” said Hager.
At the workshops, the girls received instruction in ballet, jazz, contemporary, music theater and tap.
“We were the only kids there, but there were a lot of other dancers there who were grown ups,” said Hager. “Everyone was super nice.”
“All the instructors were very welcoming, too,” said Anderson.
The three-day workshop is designed for professionals, but Above the Barre owner Kim Munn wanted girls from her studio to take part.
Before the girls left, their instructors told them that they might leave their first workshop crying due to the intensity of the classes and instructors, but neither Hager or Anderson ever did.
“I never felt like crying,” said Hager.
“I walked out feeling confident and felt good,” said Anderson.
Both girls learned that there are different ways of doing things, like dance, in different parts of the country.
“I learned different styles of walks in musical theater,” said Hager. “And ballet is different in New York. The beginning classes there are like advanced classes here.”
“All the classes were way different from ours,” said Anderson. “It was neat to experience. They have their own way in New York.”
When the girls weren’t attending workshops they had the opportunity to explore the city with the rest of the girls from Above the Barre who went on the trip.
The girls saw the Broadway show “Sister Act,” went to Central Park and Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero and the Empire State Building.
“Times Square was my favorite because of all the lights and shopping,” said Hager.
“I liked seeing where the ball drops on New Year’s Eve and the Statue of Liberty,” said Anderson.
This was both girls’ first trip to New York, and they agreed they enjoyed being in the big city and seeing all the tall buildings.
“Being in the hotel and hanging out with everyone was my favorite part because they are like a second family,” said Hager.
“Being in New York and hanging out with my friends was my favorite part,” said Anderson. “New York was my dream place to visit.”
Hager and Anderson both said the trip was a good learning experience and helped them improve their dance skills.
“We have been able to incorporate what we learned back here and this trip made us better dancers,” said Hager and Anderson.
Hager is the daughter of Johanna and Stephen Hager. She has been dancing since she was 2 years old and has been an Above the Barre student since 2007.
“I like dance because I can let out all my emotions,” said Hager. “It is one way to get my feelings out. I like all areas of dance.”
Anderson is the daughter of Roseann and Chris Anderson. She has been dancing since she was 2 years old and has been an Above the Barre student for four years.
“I am not big into other sports, and, when I was younger, I would dance and stuff on the field instead,” said Anderson. “Ever since then, I have really enjoyed it. I like all areas of dance.”