News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

June 13, 2014

60 years of dance

Dance Circus sets stage for celebration of long-running Sauer dance school

PUTNAMVILLE — About 400 people filled up Tilson Auditorium as the first act commenced with children dressed up as tigers while somersaulting towards the crowd: Let the show begin.

Dance Circus celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Nancy Sauer School of Theatrical Dancing, Friday.

“We have been working since January on learning dances and perfecting choreography,” Personette said about the 115 participants of the show. Wende Personette has been the owner since 1999.

Personette said they have recitals every year in which students participate, but Dance Circus hasn’t been performed in 60 years.

“It is amazing to carry on the history that Nancy started that long ago,” she said. “Even though Nancy isn’t here, we have her program intact. I learned to teach from her.”

Sauer opened the studio in 1953, but she passed away in 2006, after retiring in 1999. Personette started taking lessons in 1984 and moved up to teaching classes and finally buying it for her own.

Students at the school range from a couple months of experience to many years, but they all seem to enjoy it, she said.

“I hope everyone learned their dance” for the show, said Montgomeree Porter, a 17-year-old dancer who has been practicing for 14 years.

Another student, Cambree Stivers, a 7-year-old who has been dancing for two years, said she practices six hours a week and thinks “it’s fun.”

One patron working stage left was around when it first began. Marty Floyd, whose sister was in the first “Dance Circus” 60 years ago, said she was only a few years old when her sister danced.

“This studio is my home,” Floyd said. “I grew up here, and 60 years of dance is amazing to me. Nancy and my mom used to work left stage so it is only natural for Wende and I to work it now.”

The event was split up into two acts, with performances like “Razzle Dazzle,” “Elephants on Parade,” Miss Saigon,” “Wings” and “Afro Circus.”

Dance Circus will be performing at Linton-Stockton High School at 6 p.m. today. Admission is $7.

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