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April 1, 2014 > Fancy foot work in ÔLand of 1,000 DancersÕ

Fancy foot work in ÔLand of 1,000 DancersÕ

By Linda-Robin Craig

America has a fine tradition of nurturing small beginnings and growing big dreams. It seems everything from computers to rock bands began in someoneÕs garage, and MilpitasÕ Fancy Dancers is no different.

More than thirty years ago, Patty and Tina Jensen began offering dance lessons in their garage. The Jensen School for the Performing Arts (JSPA) was established five years after that humble beginning, along with their touring performance group, Fancy Dancers. Now, there are six state-of-the-art studios under one roof. The teaching staff is comprised of talented and devoted, certified dance instructors, all members of Dance Masters of America. Patty Jensen was named Artist of the Year by the Milpitas Arts Commission in 2013. The school has an annual performance each summer in a local theater, allowing young dancers to experience a professional show environment. JSPA also has a competition dance team, The TnT Dancers, made up of young dancers 5 to 14 years old.

ÒEven though JSPA has a competition dance group, there were some who wanted to dance more, do more for the community, so Fancy Dancers grew out of that desire,Ó says Fancy Dancers member Cheryl Oldham. ÒNow, we have third generation students performing with Fancy Dancers. Some of the grandparents and parents of current students performed with Fancy Dancers.Ó Auditions are held once a year, generally in August. Dancers are required to have minimum four yearsÕ experience and should be at least 10 years old.

Fancy Dancers has entertained audiences across America, from Las Vegas to Florida to New York. They have danced from Spain to Bermuda and points in between as well as entertained troops for the USO. Fancy Dancers were invited to perform as part of the Walt Disney World Resort's 25th anniversary celebration, and after touring Europe in 2009, they were invited for an encore performance at Disneyland Paris Ð one of the first American, community dance companies to perform at the park.

ÒAs this is a non-profit organization we also try to give back to the community,Ó says Oldham. ÒEvery year, we offer free classes at the Milpitas library for those who want to try a class or two. This is open to all ages and will be coming up again soon this year.Ó Oldham added that, Òduring the holidays, Fancy Dancers puts on a performance where the proceeds go completely to the Milpitas food pantry.Ó

This spring, Fancy Dancers celebrates 30 years of dance performances. ÒWe have had over 1,000 dancers since we began,Ó says Oldham. ÒThatÕs why we are calling our performance ÔLand of 1,000 Dancers.ÕÓ On Saturday, April 5, Fancy Dancers and JSPA will celebrate by doing what they do best: entertaining in a big way.

ÒWe have two amazing shows to choose from,Ó says Oldham. ÒNot all together a dance down memory lane, even though several of the numbers will be re-creations of past performances voted as favorites by Fancy Dancers, there will also be some very new, fresh and different dances: Jazz, acro, ballet, lyrical, and even some musical theatre. We also have a hip hop medley this time. We have had styles like modern jazz while in ballet pointe shoes, to country cowboy boots to converse sneakers affixed with taps! My advice, buy in advance of the show because there wonÕt be many tickets left at the door.Ó

At 1 p.m. there will be a Matinee and Ice-Cream Social presented for $15 (ice cream included in price) or you can enjoy the evening performance, a Gala Dinner Show, for $30. Dinner includes a pasta buffet followed by a silent auction and after show dance party. Tickets are available at Jensen Performing Arts, 1491 N. Milpitas Boulevard, or call (408) 262-0770.

Land of 1,000 Dancers
Saturday, Apr 5
1 p.m. Matinee Ice Cream Social
6 p.m. Gala Dinner Show and after party
Milpitas Community Center
457 E. Calaveras Blvd, Milpitas
(408) 262-0770
http://www.fancydancers.org
Tickets: $15 matinee, $30 gala
Free parking

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