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Desiree's Dancers

Caitlin Hoefer, left, Suzanne Oborny, Lindsey Nickolite, Allie Daro, and Micaiah Vrbka are the senior class of performers with the Desiree's Dancers in David City. This Sunday marks their final performance with the studio. 

Desiree's Dancers will be taking center stage in Columbus this weekend for a student performance. This will be the 23rd annual recital for the David City-based dance studio.

More than 150 boys and girls ages 2 through 12th grade will be taking the stage at 3 p.m. on Sunday at Nantkes Performing Arts Center, 2200 26th St. in Columbus. This year’s theme is “Night at the Museum." Dance Instructor Desiree Johnson said each of the dances reflect something relating to science or art museums. Examples include dinosaurs, paintings and statues.

Johnson has been running the studio since 1996 and has students from towns like David City, Shelby, Rising City, Octavia, Surprise, Abie, Bruno, Bellwood and Brainard. Dance lessons correspond with the school year and start in September. She said the recital showcases what students have learned and how they have grown throughout the year.

“It’s that school year commitment where they’re not just learning the routine that they’re going to do in the recital. They’re also learning dance skills, dance technique and just how to be a better dancer all around,” Johnson said. “And the recital is their big hurrah, and it’s just fun to put on a production, a show for people to come to see.”

Types of dances being displayed include tap, jazz, clogging, lyrical, pom, hip-hop, acro and ballet. The show is traditionally held at Columbus Middle School due to David City lacking a big auditorium. In April, Johnson said the studio will perform a small show at David City High School that will have a more casual feel.

“We like to have a big show at a performing arts center where they’ve got good lights, good state and good sound system,” Johnson said.

The studio's instructors are Kayla Hollatz, Juliana Pelan, Kalima Schoenfeld, Michelle Porath and Madelaine Comte of David City. Comte was a dancer with the studio starting in kindergarten continuing all the way up through high school. Currently a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, this is the first year she has worked as an instructor teaching second- and third-graders.

“It’s very different because I was going from performing where I was learning,” Comte said. “And now I am the person who has to teach ... It’s very interesting.”

Comte said she’s looking forward to seeing all the progress her students have made while performing this weekend.

“They worked so hard. Just seeing their progress through the beginning of the dance year to the dance recital, just seeing their progress has been amazing,” Comte said.

Johnson shares Comte's enthusiasm.

“There’s always just a great sense of pride after doing a performance like that. It’s just an adrenaline rush,” Johnson said. “All these kids like to perform, they love the stage, they love the chance to display their talent and just performing for friends, relatives and the community.”

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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Eric Schucht earned his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in 2018. He has written for The Cottage Grove Sentinel, The Creswell Chronicle, The Pacific Northwest Inlander and The Roseburg News-Review.

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