Owensboro Dance Theatre’s advisory council had been discussing ways to incorporate the community into dance for several years when World of Dance burst onto the scene and changed the way people saw dance battles.
“It used be to considered as a battle between hip hop crews, but now it is so much more,” said Jennie Boggess, ODT Development Director.
Using the platform of the televised show, now in its third season, ODT began brainstorming what it could look like for the community.
Knowing that community groups would be nervous for many reasons — unsure what a dance battle is, how to create a dance and how to choose music — several instructors that work with Owensboro Dance Theatre offered to help groups that wanted to enter.
“We wanted it to be nothing but fun,” Boggess said.
Battle contestants will have an on-stage rehearsal on Feb. 22 where they can discuss lighting, prop use and costumes with the event organizers. This will be their only rehearsal on stage, but many hours have been dedicated by the contestants to be announced grand champion.
On Feb. 23 at 7 p.m., ODT season ticket holders and those who purchased tickets will see what the 13 community groups have created for the first, but hopefully not last Dance Battle Extravaganza.
The first half of the event will feature Giordano Dance Chicago, America’s original professional jazz dance company. The mission of Giordano Dance Chicago is to create and present new and innovative jazz dance choreography, according to their website. Their program will feature three numbers.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” Boggess said, referring to the national talent the audience will see in the first half and the local talent shown in the second half.
The format of the second act will showcase each community team with one group from each of the four rounds moving on until a grand prize winner is chosen. Those competing are 270 Power Yoga, GRADSA, Highland Elementary School, Owensboro Dance Theatre and Apprentice Company, Owensboro Dance Theatre Alum, Owensboro Health, Owensboro High School, Owensboro Middle School, Owensboro Police Department, Pure Barre Owensboro, Puzzle Pieces, Inc., Sutton Elementary School and Whitesville Elementary School.
Audience members will vote for the winners through text message, meaning that attendees get to vote for the live performances. The first round winners will each receive $100 to be donated to their previously-determined charity.
The grand champion will receive $1,000 that goes directly to the team. The team who wins the community favorite vote, which begins Feb. 11 on Facebook, will take home $500 for the team.
ODT has been showcasing participating teams on their Facebook page to show the community what can be expected for the event and to get the community ready to begin voting on Monday.
The community voting will end at midnight on Feb. 22.
Serving as a fundraiser for ODT’s community outreach, the event’s profits will go back into the community through the various programs offered by ODT — Triple-A (Arts Access for All), Rising Stars, L.E.A.N., and Parkinson’s Dance, teaching in outreach and school performances at the RiverPark Center.
Tickets range from $15 to $38 and are available at the RiverPark Center website or by calling 270-687-2770. Group ticket sales (more than 10) can be made by calling Owensboro Dance Theatre at 270-684-9580.