CHESTERTOWN - In two weeks, four local dance students will take the stage in New York City to perform in front of thousands in Times Square.
Gillian Hayden and Victoria Hall of Johnsburg plus Brianna Daley and Renee Madden of North Warren High School will perform April 16 through 18 at an annual dance convention in Manhattan.
The group dances at the Guiding Steps North studio in Chestertown under the instruction of Krystal Ortiz. This group will be joined in New York City by their affiliated dance groups, Guiding Steps and Praise Dance Co. of South Glens Falls.
In the coming weeks, the local girls will be putting the final touches on their lyrical performance of TobyMac's "City On Our Knees." On a recent Monday the girls gathered for rehearsal, still sore from dancing over the weekend at Dance Olympus in Albany - and they began to focus on the Times Square performance.
"They are really sore and tired, but they have been working so hard for this," Ortiz said. "It's really paying off."
The Manhattan convention is directed by the head choreographer of the famed Rockettes and it attracts dance troupes 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 - considered a master of jazz and hip hop idioms.
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 through 17 and have all been dancing for close to 10 years.
"I am excited because I have never done anything like this before," Daley said.
Guiding Steps North has been operating in Chestertown since September. After several local dance studios disbanded the prior 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 troupes, 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. "I am certainly proud of the work they have done and I am excited for this opportunity."
For more information on Guiding Steps North Dance Studio, visit www.guidingsteps.com.