Fulfill a dancer’s dream through Sponsor a Dancer program at Steamboat Dance Theater | SteamboatToday.com

Fulfill a dancer’s dream through Sponsor a Dancer program at Steamboat Dance Theater

Through a variety of Steamboat Dance Theatre scholarships, community has a chance to give young dancers opportunity of a lifetime.

— Steamboat Dance Theatre's scope goes beyond what many in the community know as its annual fundraiser.

"What Steamboat Dance Theatre does is all encompassing on so many different levels," said Meg Franges, Steamboat Dance Theater board member. "To see our community from little girls as young as 4 years old to women who maybe used to love to dance, stopped doing it and now are rediscovering that confidence."

In its third season, Steamboat Dance Theatre's Sponsor a Dancer program gives the community a chance to give young dancers an opportunity of a lifetime.

Two local dancers, Ella Chapman and Tim Lee from Elevation Dance Studio, were recently selected to receive the 2017 Steamboat Dance Theatre Sponsor a Dancer scholarships.

Renee Fleischer, owner of Elevation Dance Studio and an instructor, said these two were nominated based on the merits of leadership, talent, commitment and financial need. The two are also part of Elevation's intensive Company Program.

"Ella has progressed so quickly and is one of the strongest dancers in our high level classes," Fleischer said. "She is just such an awesome star student who never complains when we give her critiques. She applies those right away, and because of that, has grown super quickly."

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"Tim has really come so far," she continued. "He has been more committed each year, and he has excelled and improved so much."

Both Chapman and Lee are enrolled in a range of classes at Elevation with a predominance in ballet. Lee also teaches a boys hip-hop class and was recently accepted into the Boston Conservatory at Berkley.

Chapman dances about 12 hours a week in the studio and is the only eighth grader dancing with the high school dancers.

“I plan, almost daily, how I will earn money to buy my next pair of pointe shoes, another class or intensive, or another new dance opportunity," said Chapman. "Dance is my way to let my personality out, to communicate and be free. I hope every single person will feel the pure joy I feel when I dance."

“Once I decided to commit myself, nothing stands in my way," said Lee. "I have been involved with many sports including baseball, football, soccer and snowboarding. Nothing compares to the challenges and technical accuracy ballet requires.”

Both dancers will be featured in Elevation's seventh annual dance recital, "Lucky 7," which will take place at 6 p.m. May 26 and May 27.

"We had a private donor come to us and say they wanted to donate a scholarship but wanted to donate toward one really dedicated dancer," said Rachel Radetsky, Steamboat Dance Theatre board treasurer.

From there, the board members of Steamboat Dance Theatre created the Sponsor a Dancer program in addition to the 1st Position Dance Scholarship, 5th Position Scholarship and the Amy Flint Memorial Scholarship Fun for dance and technical production training.

The 1st Position Dance Scholarship enables the organization to fund basic dance training and technique classes while the 5th Position Dance Scholarships are geared more toward state and national dance opportunities for dancers of all ages.

The Amy Flint Memorial Scholarship was created by one of the Steamboat Dance Theatre founding members, Amy Flint. When she passed away, her husband set up a fund for this scholarship that is awarded to those who have little to no experience with dance and are looking for an opportunity to dance or further their education in the technical production.

Based on the requests and interest in dance, Radetsky said the local dance community has grown over the past eight years.

In 2014, Steamboat Dance Theatre gave out $13,000 in scholarships, and last year, almost $20,000 in scholarships were awarded, Radetsky said.

Sustaining dancers with funding over a longer period of time now, Steamboat Dance Theatre is able to raise money and awareness through various events like the annual Steamboat Dance Theatre Performance.

Another popular event is the Steamboat Dance Theatre Prom fundraiser. In its third year, the event will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 20 at the Old Town Pub. Featuring DJ Leprechaun as the live entertainment, there will also be a photo booth and more.

"We are trying to give more exposure of who we are and introduce the community to the people who are part of dance theatre and this is a way to do that," Franges said. "This town loves to dress up, and this is a perfect opportunity for that."

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@steamboattoday.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

If you go…

What: Steamboat Dance Theatre: 3rd annual Prom

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, May 20

Where: Old Town Pub, 600 Lincoln Ave.