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Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake hosts summer dance camp

Amid programs teaching babysitter skills, study tips and sign language, a small group of students are taking advantage of the O'Rourke Middle School's Summer Enrichment Academy by strutting their stuff with professional-level dance instruction during the week of July 7.

Their teacher is Geoffrey Doig-Marx, who resides in New York City and teaches dance at a number of upper-level institutions. He is the critically acclaimed founder of The Mantis Project Dance Company, where he practices choreography, and the creator/artistic director of The Elan Awards, which honors choreographers.

The dance camp is a small part of the O'Rourke summer programming that runs through July. The dance camp is open to students who are entering grades 6 through 12 next year. One-week courses are generally $45 per student, but the ten students who are participating in Doig-Marx's dance camp shelled out $175 for the opportunity to work with a world-class instructor.

According to 14-year-old Abby Goudey, you can't put a price on the experience the camp provides. "You can learn a lot in a week," she said. "It's challenging, and you really work hard."

Doig-Marx has been offering a summer dance program for eight years in the area. He used to do a week with the Shenendehowa School District, then a week with Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, but has since shifted his focus to just BH-BL. He says he enjoys getting an escape from the city, and also seeing family members who reside in Burnt Hills.

Doig-Marx starts his students off at 8:30 a.m. each day, and will teach them jazz, modern and ballet styles over the course of the week. Their efforts will culminate in a free performance on Friday, July 11, at 1 p.m. at the middle school.

They will be performing Doig-Marx's unique choreography to "Jive Hands" from the musical "Grease" for their jazz element, "Running" for their modern tune and a yet-to-be-decided number to showcase their ballet talents.

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