Scholarship program helps locals stay in dance studio |

Scholarship program helps locals stay in dance studio

Margaret Hair

Dancers rehearse Electric Feel choreographed by Nicci Curd on Thursday at Rocky Mountain Dance. The 38th annual Steamboat Dance Theatre concert is at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday with a matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday. Proceeds from the show benefit the Dance Theatre scholarship program.

— Kailee Davis has been dancing since she was 2. Last fall, it looked as if she might have to put her dancing on hold.

"This was the first year that we had to pull the plug on a lot of things, and dance was one of them," said Christina Davis, Kailee's mother.

Like many families, the Davises had to take a hard look at their spending in recent months. Expenses such as dance classes and Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club activities for 9-year-old Kailee had to be cut.

"I think she understood and she felt lucky that she's been able to take dance all these years. I think if she was bummed out she didn't show it in the beginning," Christina Davis said.

Things turned for the better in December, when Davis learned Kailee had been awarded a scholarship to participate in local dance classes from the Steamboat Dance Theatre. Unsure about how much the scholarship would cover at first, Davis soon learned the Dance Theatre had sent a check to Kailee's dance teacher to cover all classes through the studio's spring recital.

"When I told her that I applied for the scholarship and I told her that she got it — I've never seen her so excited. She jumped for joy and just started screaming and was just telling everybody, 'I'm going to be in dance, I'm going to be in dance again,'" Davis said.

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Kailee is one of eight students ages 4 to 24 to benefit from the Dance Theatre scholarship this program year. In 2008-09, 29 students received help. The year before, 28 students benefited. In the past three years, the scholarship fund has provided more than $10,000 to students in North­west Colorado to participate in a variety of dance pursuits, Dance Theatre board president Traci Cameron said.

"We just think that keeping dance and the arts in people's lives — and especially in children's lives — is very, very important, and with the way people are struggling now, we're really happy we can help lots of people," Cameron said.

Any area resident with an interest in taking a dance class or workshop, attending a summer program such as those offered at Perry-Mansfield Per­forming Arts School and Camp or pursuing other dance options may apply for a scholarship, Cameron said. Between 80 and 90 percent of scholarship recipients are children, but there is no age limit to apply, she said.

A scholarship committee reviews applications six times a year to coincide with classes offered locally and to "try to capture everyone who has a need," Cameron said.

The scholarship fund is furnished in part by proceeds from the annual Dance Theatre concert. The 38th annual show starts Thursday at the Steam­boat Springs High School auditorium. Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday through Sat­ur­day and 2 p.m. Saturday.

Concert proceeds, sponsorships, grant writing and other revenue sources also fund other portions of the Dance Theat­re's mission, said former board president and local dance instructor Wendy Smith Mikel­sons.

Through its community outreach programming, Steamboat Dance Theatre hopes to bring a professional dance company to Steamboat for a performance sometime in 2011, she said. A series of workshops with guest teachers in jazz, hip-hop and contemporary styles is in the works for May, she said.

"Our annual concert serves as a fundraising vehicle for all these programs," Smith Mik­elsons said.

The scholarship program has been going for about eight years, she said.

"We just felt this would be a great thing to offer to the community because we knew there were definitely people out there who would like to study dance but who just couldn't afford to, and that was preventing them," Smith Mikelsons said.

For young dancers like Kai­lee, the program offers a chance to keep pursuing the art that has been a source of confidence since a young age, Christina Davis said.

"That scholarship program is awesome because it helps families like ours who really want to keep their kids in dance," Davis said.

"I just see the confidence that it gave my daughter growing up that we were able to pay for, and now that we can't it just gives us so much hope to see that she's doing something she loves."

If you go

What: 38th annual Steamboat Dance Theatre concert

When: 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Steamboat Springs High School auditorium

Cost: $15 general admission, $20 reserved seating, $12 for students and seniors; get a free children’s ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket only at the 2 p.m. Saturday concert

Call: All That Jazz at 879-4422 for advance tickets

For more

■ Information and an application form for the Dance Theatre scholarship program is at The site also offers information about the annual dance concert and donating to Steamboat Dance Theatre.

■ On March 6, Steamboat Dance Theatre instructors will lead a Community Class for Mind-Body Awareness in Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library. The class is from 10 to 11:15 a.m.; admission is by donation only. All donations will go to the Steamboat Dance Theatre scholarship fund.

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