The Owensboro Dance Theater will feature dance groups competing for their third annual Dance Battle show at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the RiverPark Center.
This fundraising event will feature a variety of dancers ranging from trained professionals to local community members, while bringing the community into their world.
“The main premise (of this) was how to engage our community more,” said Jennie Boggess, director of development. “We have always worked, I think since the beginning of ODT, to get involved in the community, to serve the community. And we’ve seen so many community members come back and love the dance; So how do you get everyone together to do that on stage? …Dance Battle (Extravaganza) is a great way to bring the community together and have a little fun.
Presented by Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, the event will raise funds to provide free tickets to future performances and community outreach hours as part of their Triple A (Arts Access for All) outreach programs, such as their Experience the Show program which provides scholarships to attend programs through free seating or transportation to concerts.
The funds also support ODT’s Rising Stars Adaptive Dance Therapy program, which offers dance therapy programs for people with disabilities, dance-for-health classes specifically designed for people with Alzheimer’s disease. , Parkinson’s disease and other chronic diseases, and their dance/movement/LEAN program, which combines dance and the importance of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
With the event canceled last year due to COVID, the bands are excited to take center stage to show off their skills, work together and have a friendly rivalry.
“…It’s a good competition on the subject of, ‘Oh, they did that in their dance? We need to energize it. We need to step it up a little more,” said Natalie Lopez, assistant artistic director. “It excites them. …It’s really nice to see different bands, different ages (and) to see all this different music — it’s just a great overall show. It really is.
“…Each group talks about what a team building experience is,” Boggess said.
Giordano Dance Chicago, a professional jazz dance company from Chicago, will open the event in the first act as an out-of-competition opener with dancing described as “powerful, passionate, elegant and celebratory.”
“…They’re very international and put on a wonderful show,” said Joy Johnson, Executive Artistic Director. “It’s a wonderful company and they just started filming last week in Nashville (because they just started again from COVID.”
The battles, which will feature members of the local community in nine dance groups, will begin in the second act after a short intermission.
Competitors include: Burns Middle School Dance Team, Daviess County Board of Education, Edge Body, Johnson’s Dance Studio Dance Moms, No Affiliation, Owensboro Middle School, Owensboro High School, Sutton Elementary School, and The Wonder Understudies at RiverPark Center.
There will also be special non-competitive performances from the 2020 grand prize winning band Green River Area Down Syndrome Association (GRADSA), as well as the ODT & Apprentice Company.
Groups aren’t limited to any particular type of dance, allowing audiences to see a wide range of talent throughout the night.
“It’s really unique to see each band come up with what style or even musical selection (that they choose) is very interesting to see,” Lopez said.
For the first time this year, the event will feature three judges who will score each group based on creativity, musicality, presentation and overall impression from one to five for each category.
Boggess said there will be three rounds of battles, where three groups will face off and the judges will determine the winner of each round. The winning groups for each battle round will receive $100.
At the end of the evening, Boggess said each group will go back “into the pot” for an audience vote via text message, with the winning group becoming the grand prize winner receiving $1,000.
“The more of an audience there is to support whoever you want to win that grand prize, the more likely they are to get it,” Boggess said.
There is also a Community Favorite Award, which awards $500, which is currently available through online voting at owensborodancetheatre.org; it already has 1,200 votes cast on Wednesday morning.
ODT said people should consider voting via donation to increase their favorite team’s chances of winning and that every dollar donated equals two votes.
All funds raised for the event will support ODT’s service and efforts to ensure the art of dance continues to thrive for the entire community.
“It’s what keeps us running…” Boggess said. “Every dollar that comes in here goes directly to our community, so it’s really helpful for ODT and the bands to bring in some cash as well.”
“In my opinion, this is the biggest dance night in Western Kentucky,” Boggess said. “You’re not going to see a professional company with 150+ community members hit the stage in a single night like you do for Dance Battle Extravaganza.”
For more information, contact Owensboro Dance Theater at 270-684-9580