Creative Dance Center holds holiday tradition

By Jason Harris - Staff Writer
East Hampton - posted Tue., Dec. 4, 2012
Olivia Gunning, Echo DeJong, Sierra Taylor and Lena DeJong performing in Santa's Workshop. Photos by Jason Harris.
Olivia Gunning, Echo DeJong, Sierra Taylor and Lena DeJong performing in Santa's Workshop. Photos by Jason Harris.

The Creative Dance Center held its 30-year tradition on Nov. 30 at East Hampton High School, when students performed "Santa's Workshop" in front of a large audience. The performance opened with the East Hampton Intergenerational Tap Dancers performing two numbers to Christmas music.

“We tried to make it an intergenerational thing because I do a lot of intergenerational work,” said Creative Dance Center owner and dance instructor Cynthia Sorville Baloga. The tap dancing group included children, adults and senior citizens, who are all students of hers, she said. “It’s pretty cool,” said Baloga.

Baloga said that years ago she was teaching senior citizens line dancing, which eventually turned into tap dancing when they wanted that type of teaching. She got the idea to include her students in the first number when her senior citizen group dwindled one year. When she put everybody together, the group swelled to about 30 people, so it became an intergenerational program, Baloga said.

Her students have to take her summer program to be able to perform in “Santa’s Workshop,” since that is when she teaches the Christmas show, she said. The student ages range from 3 to 9 when they first start out at the dance center, Baloga said. When they reach age 9, they are invited to be elves in the program, which is their first step into more serious dance, she said. The students get excited when they are invited to be in the program.

“They work up from the elves every year,” Baloga said. “They work into another section of the program based on their ability and experience.”

When Baloga started the show 30 years ago, she was the only performer and it was 20 minutes long, she said. It is now around an hour and 20 minutes. “It’s been the same show; we’ve added to it over the years,” Baloga said.

All proceeds from the performance are donated to the East Hampton Food Bank. Before settling on the food bank to receive the profits, donations used to be given to the East Hampton Ambulance Association, the Youth Center and the Senior Citizens Center.

East Hampton resident Richard Eaton, who has been coming to “Santa’s Workshop” for the past five years, said he especially enjoys the ballet part. He doesn’t know how Baloga keeps the dancers staying on their toes so long. “I’m very impressed,” Eaton said. “The ballerinas impressed me the most. I really enjoyed the outfits this year. They were really pretty.”

East Hampton resident Regan Gallmon said she used to dance for Baloga 15 years ago. She brought her daughter to the performance to show her what dancing is all about. “I think it was wonderful,” Gallmon said. “They did a nice job.”

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