They’re back in action

Nicole Fedak takes part in a re­hears­al at Anna Mar­ie’s Academy of Dance. KEV­IN COOK / FOR THE TIMES

— Ex-mem­bers of dance troupe will re­unite for a fund-rais­ing show.


Some former mem­bers of the Elysi­an Dance Com­pany in re­cent months began dis­cuss­ing on Face­book the pos­sib­il­ity of an on-stage re­union.

It wasn’t idle chat­ter.

El­ev­en former mem­bers of the com­pany, based at Anna Mar­ie’s Academy of Dance, at 7201 Marsden St. in Ta­cony, will re­unite on April 1 for a spe­cial per­form­ance.

The wo­men, many of whom haven’t danced for at least 10 years, will ap­pear at the dance com­pany’s an­nu­al spring con­cert.

Michelle Galla­gh­er Doerr last danced for Elysi­an in 1989, then con­tin­ued in col­lege.

“My heart is with this place,” she said. “I grew up here. I was here five nights a week. The pas­sion is still there. I’m glad to be back.”

The con­cert is a fund-raiser for the Eliza­beth Ann Pu­laski Me­mori­al Schol­ar­ship Fund. Schol­ar­ships will be presen­ted that Sunday af­ter­noon to a mem­ber of the St. Hubert dance club and a seni­or at the Uni­versity of the Arts.

Liz Pu­laski was a 1979 St. Hubert gradu­ate and a ju­ni­or at the Phil­adelphia Col­lege of Per­form­ing Arts (now Uni­versity of the Arts) when she died of a brain an­eurysm in 1981 at age 20.

Bill and Anna Mar­ie Pu­laski, her par­ents, own the dance stu­dio and began the schol­ar­ship pro­gram soon after their daugh­ter’s death.

The Uni­versity of the Arts win­ner is a ju­ni­or with fin­an­cial need. Later, the couple ad­ded a schol­ar­ship for a St. Hubert dan­cer.

The 90-minute con­cert will fea­ture 60 dan­cers from Elysi­an’s com­pany, ju­ni­or and train­ing pro­grams. The girls range in age from 11 to 18. The school wel­comes boys to join.

Also per­form­ing will be Jer­rica Blanken­ship, the 2011 schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ent from Uni­versity of the Arts.

The con­cert will be­gin with the alumni group’s ver­sion of Billy Joel’s Some­times a Fantasy, a num­ber that Liz Pu­laski cho­reo­graphed.

The alums con­sist of Doerr, Stephanie Pat­ras, Laura Kosty, Ash­ley Mor­ris, Nicole Fedak, Eileen Sut­ton, Christy Lee, Mar­gie Fo­ley, Kar­en As­sof, Kelly Mc­Claf­ferty and Shar­on Hag­gon.

“I’m just so happy to see their pretty faces again,” said Anna Mar­ie Pu­laski. “They’re still kids to me.”

Among the alums, Lee has been dan­cing the longest. She’s been with Pu­laski since the late 1970s, when the stu­dio spent brief peri­ods on Bris­tol Pike in Ben­s­alem and Prin­ceton Av­en­ue in Ta­cony.

Lee left Elysi­an in 1990, then earned a fine arts de­gree from Temple Uni­versity. She danced with a few com­pan­ies and is part of a dance col­lect­ive.

Pu­laski and artist­ic dir­ect­or Paula de­S­andes-Min­acci have un­of­fi­cially ap­poin­ted Lee as lead­er of the alums.

Lee likes what she sees.

“The girls are all mak­ing it hap­pen,” she said.

Many of the dan­cers work and have chil­dren. They’ve been at­tend­ing two-hour re­hears­als each Sat­urday af­ter­noon since Feb­ru­ary.

A col­lege friend of Liz Pu­laski, de­S­andes-Min­acci ex­plained that the com­pany per­forms Some­times A Fantasy to open its an­nu­al re­cit­al in June. The alums will im­press the crowd, she be­lieves.

“It’s go­ing to be fant­ast­ic,” she said.

The ladies, who are gen­er­ally in their late 20s to late 30s, have re­mained in good shape over the years, but they ac­know­ledged hav­ing some “second-day muscle pain” after the first re­hears­al.

No more.

“Our muscles re­cog­nize the moves,” said Mor­ris, who last was af­fil­i­ated with the dance stu­dio a dec­ade ago.

While they are pain free, the ladies know they will be the cen­ter of at­ten­tion and must per­form up to stand­ards they set in the 1980s and ‘90s.

“I’m a little nervous com­ing back,” said Kosty, Mor­ris’ twin sis­ter.

The alums will wear match­ing black shirts with “Elysi­an Dance Com­pany” writ­ten on the front.

Back in their hey­day, the young dan­cers per­formed to ap­plause from their par­ents. Today, hus­bands, boy­friends, chil­dren and oth­ers who’ve nev­er seen them dance will get the op­por­tun­ity.

Sut­ton last danced at the stu­dio 11 years ago. She ma­jored in dance in col­lege. She teaches and still per­forms.

“It’s in your blood,” she said.

Pat­ras danced at Elysi­an from 1984-98. She has an 11-year-old daugh­ter, Mack­en­zie, who has been dan­cing for Elysi­an for sev­en years. Mom has made a nice trans­ition back on stage.

“You nev­er for­get it after do­ing it that long,” she said.

The ladies likened re­turn­ing to the dance stu­dio as a re­turn home For Fedak, it’s a re­turn home for the first time since 1993.

“I’d like to think we still have it. Yes we do,” she said. ••



Watch­ing their feet …

The Elysi­an Dance Com­pany will present its an­nu­al spring con­cert on Sunday, April 1, at 2 p.m., at St. Hubert High School, at 7320 Tor­res­dale Ave. The en­trance is on Dit­man Street.

Tick­ets cost $14, or $10 for seni­or cit­izens and stu­dents.

Pro­ceeds will be­ne­fit the Eliza­beth Ann Pu­laski Me­mori­al Schol­ar­ship Fund at the Uni­versity of the Arts and St. Hubert.

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