With spring skiing mostly over, attention can now turn to other sports and athletes in the community. Particularly, dance.
Two Summit County dance studios — Alpine Dance Academy and Altitude Performing Arts — are both having spring recitals this weekend in Breckenridge. The evenings will blend styles with diverse programming to entertain all.
Alpine Dance Academy
Scheduled first is the annual spring recital from Alpine Dance Academy. Called “Color Me Alpine,” the show will have 130 local dancers from pre-K to graduating seniors performing 31 songs tied to the theme of color.
Audience members will hear music such as “Brown-Eyed Girl” and “99 Red Balloons” choreographed to variety of styles like ballet, tap, jazz, acrobatics and hip-hop. Each is choreographed by the studio’s instructors, including seven pieces from new studio owner Sara Skinner.
Skinner worked part time at Alpine Dance Academy for eight years before she purchased the studio from founding owner Kelly Monahon last summer.
“These dancers work hard all year long, and they can’t wait to share that with their audience,” Skinner said.
The group has been training for nine months, and it leads to the culmination of eight seniors — one of the studio’s biggest graduating classes — performing one last time. Taking the stage are Shaelyn Coffman, Haedyn Drabik, Grace Jackman, Sophie Lytle, Linna Mora-Calderon, Hailey Pfeifer, Natalie Scott and Maya Zook.
Scott’s favorite piece is “Shade of Yellow.”
“It is so much fun to dance with this group of girls and enjoy our remaining class time together,” she said.
The group has been dancing together since their middle school years.
“Dance is my outlet,” Pfeifer said. “It gives me a place to come and participate in something I love and be with amazing people.”
Pfeifer is part of the studio’s award-winning competition team, the Alpine Vibes. The team had a strong season at the LA Dance Magic and Showbiz events that took place in Denver in November and March, respectively. The Alpine Vibes will end the recital with a rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.”
Altitude Performing Arts
Dance aficionados will also want to check out the competition talent on display from Altitude Performing Arts. While the name of the studio is new, it is essentially a rebranded and relaunched Summit School of Dance that aims to provide the same high-quality programming as before. Owner and Artistic Director Kurtis Aragon said he changed the name because of his background in elite dance training and competition dance.
“I really want to prove to the county and community that dance is just as much a sport as all of the winter sports that everyone is accustomed to,” Aragon said.
Born and raised in Trinidad, Aragon has been teaching at Summit Dance every summer for the past seven years, working with both previous owners Melanie Frey and Kelly Threlkeld.
Aragon ended up in Summit County because of COVID-19 shutting down his choreography tour and competition judging. Then based in Colorado Springs for traveling jobs with Millennium Dance Complex and others, Aragon returned to Summit for contract dance work before Threlkeld closed the studio in December.
His formal dance training didn’t start until college, but as a fan of science and math he was drawn the to medium’s limitless potential.
“I feel like I’m constantly learning and growing and passing that along to the kids,” Aragon said. “It’s limitless in what can be accomplished through dance. I love that it’s a human experience and a way of connecting people together. It’s just become my life’s passion, for sure.”
Aragon reopened the studio as Altitude Performing Arts Jan. 17.
“I didn’t see myself opening a studio up here, but I guess this is where we are,” Aragon said.
The experience is not new for Aragon. He had a studio in Trinidad for about a decade as well as one in Pueblo for a couple of years. Forming new relationships and the time crunch has been a bit of a challenge, but Aragon said he wants to settle down and plant roots in the community.
“That’s the first time I actually felt that in my life because I am quite the (nomad),” he said. “I love to travel, and I love to work with new people.”
Some of those groups include the New York City Dance Alliance convention competition and Pueblo’s R&R Center of the Performing Arts in Pueblo. Aragon choreographed six solos for the Pueblo studio and their leads will also dance in Breckenridge.
Guests can expect an evening of ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop and other styles from performers of all ages. Aragon said their opening number “Ready for It” — a mash-up of different versions of the Taylor Swift song — is their testament to the county.
“This is the spark that is going to set the precedent for all of the things that we’re going to be doing,” he said.
Also on the docket is a select group of students putting on specialty pieces, and a sendoff with new traditions for senior Makenna Schuman. Schuman started dancing on the Front Range when she was 4 and joined Summit School of Dance after she moved to the county in 2015.
Schuman called it therapeutic outlet, but she loves the camaraderie most of all.
“The community is huge,” Schuman said. “The people who dance here are absolutely amazing. They’re family.”
She won’t major in dance when she goes on to attend University of Wisconsin-Madison, but she said she hopes to continue to take classes to not lose her skill.
“Watching her, she’s grown exponentially this semester,” Aragon said. “I’m excited to be here and excited to show the community what we were able of doing in five months and how we overcame the adversity and persevered.”
Jefferson Geiger is the arts and entertainment editor for the Summit Daily News and managing editor for Explore Summit. Email him at email@example.com.