CHESTERTOWN - In two weeks, four local dance students will slip on their dancing shoes and take the stage in New York City to perform in front of thousands in Times Square.
Gillian Hayden and Victoria Hall of Johnsburg, and Brianna Daley and Renee Madden of North Warren will perform under the instruction of Krystal Ortiz April 16-18 at an annual dance convention in Manhattan. The group dances at the Guiding Steps North
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studio in Chestertown and will be joined by their mother organization Guiding Steps and Praise Dance Co. of South Glens Falls.
The girls will be putting the final touches on their lyrical performance of TobyMac's "City On Our Knees" in the coming weeks. They met on Monday evening for rehearsal, still sore from dancing at Dance Olympus in Albany over the weekend and began to focus on the Times Square performance.
"They are really sore and tired, but they have been working so hard for this," said Ortiz. "It's really paying off."
The convention is directed by the head choreographer of the famed Rockettes and attracts dance troops and schools from across the country. The students will have the opportunity to not only dance in Times Square, but work with prominent instructors such as Jared Grimes - a jazz and hip hop specialist.
For some, this is their first experience with a performance of this caliber.
"I am excited, but nervous because I have never even been to New York City before," said Hayden, the youngest dancer to perform.
The girls who will perform range in age from 12-17 and have all been dancing for close to 10 years.
"I am excited because I have never done anything like this before," said Daley. "I am sure that I will be really nervous when I get there."
Guiding Steps North has been operating in Chestertown since September. After several local dance studios disappeared over the past year, parents contacted Debra Wood, director of Guiding Steps and within months her daughter, Ortiz, started offering classes at the studio in Chestertown.
Ortiz has danced at the convention before with past troops, but this is the first time she will be bringing a group of her students to perform.
"They are well prepared and dance very well for their ages," she said.
Despite the fact that this will be the biggest crowd they have performed for, their nerves didn't show on Monday as they rehearsed their performance in its entirety.
"I am certainly proud of the work they have done and I am excited for this opportunity," said Ortiz. "I am sure I will be very nervous, however, when they take the sage."
For more information on Guiding Step Dance, visit www.guidingsteps.com.