Midwest Edge Dance Academy recently hosted a full-day of movement, singing, and dance lessons taught by some of the industries top professionals, including several cast and crew members of Hamilton Chicago.
For a Good Cause
And, it was all for a good cause. The nonprofit DanceOn started last year, when Greg Long’s son Jimmy and other male dancers were heckled on stage, with some in the audience even directing homophobic slurs at the boys.
Greg began selling t-shirts to raise awareness of this bullying and provide scholarships to aspiring dancers.
“We are up to about 36 scholarships that have benefitted both male dancers and special needs programs,” said Greg. “In addition, we’ve made partnerships with the cast of Hamilton, who is here today doing our fundraiser.”
But it’s these “Master Class” events that have drawn the most attention. And the instructors get as much out of it as the students.
“There’s an incredible sense of fulfillment in a way that you’re not only doing what you love but you’re also benefitting a community,” said Yossi Chaikin, the dance captain of Hamilton Chicago and a frequent collaborator with DanceOn. “Having a kid that’s been moved and inspired to do and work harder, is literally why we do what we do.”
DanceOn even created a short film using the talents of professionals in the dance community, like Chaikin, who choreographed the film. Greg recruited fellow Midwest Edge “dance dad” and documentarian Rich Hemmingway as director after meeting at a dance event.
“A man walks up in the middle of the gym and tells a story that brought a tear to my eye and I walked out, told him I thought he was a great dad,” said Hemmingway. “Ironically enough, they dance here. I ran into him, mentioned I work in television and film. There was no question.”
The Master Class ended with a showcase of skills the dancers learned over the course of the day, while they were in… the room where it happened.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
Get daily hometown news and sports delivered to your inbox!Sign Up Today!