Behind the lights, costumes and music of a dance performance in the Amphitheater is hours of hard work and practice that many people may never see.
However, in an effort to recruit new members, the Chautauqua Dance Circle will give people a chance to see behind the scenes. The CDC’s “New Spin on Dance” will provide small tours of the Carnahan-Jackson Dance Studio on select Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the season.
The first tour will be held at 4 p.m. today at the studio and will begin in front of the Carnahan-Jackson sign at the hall.
The CDC is an “affinity group” that provides scholarships to students in the Chautauqua School of Dance, said Rich Osborne, who is co-chair of the group’s membership committee along with Karen Goodell.
“[The CDC is] really always going back and forth between enhancing appreciation for dance and supporting students and trying to raise money for those students,” said CDC President Karen Dakin.
The tours will include an introduction to the CDC as well as time to observe the studio for about 15 minutes and talk to representatives of the dance program at Chautauqua, which Dakin said is “rare.”
The goal of the new program, Osborne said, is “opening up the opportunities to enjoy dance at Chautauqua to people who otherwise wouldn’t know what was here.” That also includes engaging people who might only stay one or two weeks of the summer, he said.
Depending on the success of the program this summer, Osborne said the group would be interested in continuing it in the future, even if it needs some tweaking.
The minimum amount to become a member is $15 a person and $30 a couple. According to information provided by the CDC, more than 85 percent of dues go to scholarships via the Institution. The CDC was able to provide $18,000 in scholarships to students in the School of Dance in 2016, and has given more than $137,000 since 2006.
“Because students actually have the opportunity to dance at the Amp, it’s critical that [the School of Dance has] these top-notch students because you’ve got to have some experience to be able to dance in front of thousands of people,” Dakin said. “They are able to attract the crème de la crème of students and scholarships really become a major part of that.”
When looking at the scholarships the CDC is able to give to students, Dakin said it helps to recruit the best talent and to keep Chautauqua’s dance programs competitive to other similar summer programs.
“We’re really providing the opportunity for students to pursue their life’s work,” Dakin said.