Dance Pointe continues Greenwich tradition

Melissa Kopeloff-Truelove, the founder/director of The Dance Pointe in Greenwich, will continue her dance mentor’s tradition with an overseas workshop and performance program for young dancers that began yesterday, July 2.

Dance Pointe International is comprised of dancers under the age of 18 who have earned the privilege of studying abroad in Buehl, Germany from July 2 to 14 under the direction of Ms. Truelove and Kendall Moran.

This forty-year old tradition was started by Ms. Truelove’s dance teacher, German born Felicity Foote, who founded the Greenwich Ballet Workshop in 1960. In 1974 she began taking an elite group of her local dancers to Germany where they lived in her converted farm house, trained and rehearsed daily in order to perform throughout the region raising money for local charities. Today Ms. Truelove is continuing the work for the next generation of dancers.

The Dance Pointe studio currently trains 300 local dancers from both Port Chester and Greenwich and is led by a team of dance instructors. Kendall Moran, director of YDance at the YWCA of Greenwich and a former student of Mrs. Foote, was in the first company Foote ever took overseas. She toured with the youth dance company for decades as a student performer, later as a chaperone and performer and now is taking her own dance students on the tour as well.

Melanie Riera also studied with Ms. Foote’s Greenwich Ballet Workshop and joined the European tour in 1991. Ms. Riera danced in the tour for over a decade as both a soloist and chaperone and now accompanies the group as a teacher and choreographer.

The tour will consist of performances prepared stateside to be performed at three venues in the city of Bühl in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The first part of the journey will be spent along Lake Constance (Bodensee) where the dancers will be taking master classes from some of Ms. Truelove’s former colleagues: Peter Czerner, Andrea Czerner, Judith Geibel and Virginia Biller.

After a performance at the lakeside venue in Radolfzell, the dancers will travel to Ms. Foote’s farmhouse nestled in a farming village, which continues to host the American dance troupe. The young women will train in the studio that Ms. Foote converted from the old hay loft. Located 200 meters from the Swiss border, the dancers will then travel to Zurich for classes at Colombo Dance Factory and wrap up the tour with two local performances in this region.

Amidst all of the excitement and preparation, the anticipated traveling and the tour itself, Ms. Truelove says she instills the core values upon her dancers which she herself lives by to this day; Respect, effort, dedication, passion, performance, and responsibility. Along with a rigid rehearsal schedule, dancers will be responsible for cooking and cleaning together, taking time for meditation exercises and will go without social media and tech gadgets for periods throughout the program.

“It is an incredible experience for the youth of today,” Ms. Truelove said. “The focus is on the discipline of what it takes to be a skilled dancer. But really, the enjoyment for the art is what fuels even the youngest of dancers.”

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