Dance Studio Eyes Role In Summer Olympics

OCEAN CITY – A local dance studio has been invited to sauté its way to London to participate in the Olympic Games opening ceremonies in 2012.

A few months ago, X Squad Dancers of Crofton, Md., and Selbyville, Del., received the exciting news that they had been invited by the English National Ballet to take part in Big Dance 2012.

“We actually found out just this past May,” co-owner and director of X Squad Dancers Erin Vitalos said. “The kids were very, very, excited and very honored.”

Participants from across the world will take part in Big Dance 2012 as it showcases dance before the July opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London, England. The local dancers of X Squad were one out of eight studios across the country chosen to participate.

“It is a cultural Olympics and it runs two weeks prior to the Olympic Games,” Vitalos said. “It runs in conjunction with the Olympics so they’re doing a lot of performances for Olympic athletes and things like that.”

She added the dance students will also have the opportunity to tour London, perform throughout their visit and even take classes with the Royal Ballet.

X Squad Dancers is looking for support as they prepare for their voyage overseas to work with other choreographers and dancers creating memories to last a lifetime.

According to dance mom Beth Gisriel Bell, the studio is seeking financial sponsors to help defray the trip’s expenses as well as be able to attend workshops and acquire multi-national costumes required for their performances. The expenses total about $249,000 for the entire team.

“We normally do regional events and competitions … and the national competition we do is actually held right in Ocean City so we don’t have to travel which is nice as far as expenses but this is definitely bigger and a farther distance to travel,” she said.

Bell’s daughter, Noelle Dennis, like many of the other students at X Squad Dancers, has been overwhelmed with the chance to participate in Big Dance 2012.

“She is just beside herself with this opportunity and very eagerly trying to raise money,” Bell said.

X Squad Dancers was started only four years ago by six teenage local dancers. Since then, the dance studio has taken off and it has already been ranked in the top 50 dance studios in the nation’s northeast region by the Federation of Dance Competitions (FDC).

“Within a year and half, it [X squad] was recognized by the FDC as one of the top 41 studios in 2010 in the Northeast region, and we were the only studio from Maryland and Delaware to achieve that honor,” Vitalos said.

X Squad Dancers provide recreational and competitive dance classes from the age of three to adults. Dance classes include ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical and contemporary styles.

“Any kind of financial support and donations they can give the students would be greatly appreciated,” Vitalos said.

There will be a crab feast held at Hooper’s Crab House in West Ocean City on Oct. 9 to raise funds for the dance students.

If interested in sponsoring or donating to X Squad Dancers, the studio can be reached at 410-474-4995 or mail your donation to X Squad Parents Association, c/o Beth Bell, 27 Seabreeze Rd, Ocean Pines, Md. 21811.

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