— 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.
“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.