Fourteen Long Island athletes are headed to the Olympics -- not to compete, but to help provide entertainment for the droves who have flocked to London for the festivities.
Members of Glen Dance Studio, in Old Brookville, will be part of an event that will bring some 1,200 dancers from around the world to London to perform.
The performances were coordinated by a group called American Alliance of Performing Arts Educators (AAPAE), a nonprofit that invites select small troupes to perform at large venues. AAPAE hosted a similar event at the Olympics in Sydney in 2000, and it is planning on being in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Kim Leary, 41, owner and director of Glen Dance Studio, was contacted in May 2011 by AAPAE about being part of the event. After an interview process, the company was ultimately selected to go to London.
“Watching it [the Olympics] on the TV the last week has been really exciting,” Leary said. “We’ve been saying, ‘Oh my goodness, we’re going to be there, we’re going to see that.’”
Leary, being a dancer herself, decided to open a studio after getting her MBA from Pace University in New York City. She has owned Glen Dance Studio for 16 years, during which time it has moved to Old Brookville from Glen Cove.
The 14 dancers from the studio range in age from 7 to 31. They are scheduled for two 30-minute performances at Warwick Castle and Island Gardens on the Thames River on Aug. 11 and 12.
They will showcase their versatility by employing a variety of dance styles including ballet, jazz, hip hop and modern. The group will even perform an emotional tribute to 9/11, dancing to a special remix of DJ Sammy and Yanou’s version of “Heaven,” a song originally performed by Bryan Adams.
“When I heard the song, it was so powerful that I figured if I could put a visual to this, that’s already so powerful, I knew it would make a big impact,” Leary said.
Though some 120 companies from the United States will be a part of the London event, Glen Dance Studio was the only studio from New York State selected.
Sharon Bogolubov is one of several parents who will be going on the trip. She described it as the “chance of a lifetime” for her 7-year old daughter Sonja, who is better known to her fellow dancers as “Rosy.”
“We’re very proud of all the dancers,” Bogolubov said, while watching the group’s last rehearsal.
The company leaves for London on Monday, and plans to return on Aug. 13, the day after their final performance.
Above: The company of dancers from the Glen Dance Studio in Old Brookville during their last rehearsal before leaving for London. Back row (from left): Angela Steen, Danielle Potornai, Stephanie Jingle, Jessica Hannon, Keri Fertig and Teri Gaudio. Front row: Dakota Asuncion, Reilly Hannon, Sonja "Rosy" Bogolubov and Mackenzie Hannon (Aug. 2, 2012)