Meet Extensions Dance Company!

Meet Extensions Dance Company!

It’s time, once again, to meet yet another incredibly talented group that will be performing in the Chicago International Dance Forum in TWO DAYS!

Meet the Extensions Dance Company!

Beginning their journey in 2005, Extensions Dance Company has committed themselves to training young dancers to follow their passions, perfect their techniques and tell a story through the art of dance. Their dedicated training has led some of their students to go on to study at some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country.

“The Mission of Extensions Dance Company is to provide a loving and encouraging environment, where young dancers can train fearlessly, discover their potential and through their art, give back to the community.” ~

Known for their jaw-dropping performances regardless of the genre, Extensions Dance Company is a must-see at the 7th Annual Chicago International Dance Forum. To learn more about them, follow the link to their website above!

Meet Ballet 5:8!

Meet Ballet 5:8!

Are you ready to meet another group who will be performing at the Chicago International Dance Forum?

Meet Ballet 5:8!

“The mission of Ballet 5:8 is to engage communities in Chicago, the Midwest and across the nation in conversation of life and faith through innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance.”

Located in Frankfort, Illinois, Ballet 5:8 performs in downtown Chicago, the city suburbs AND the U.S.! The mission is to reach and relate to audiences from all communities to set all social, cultural and economic differences aside. To bring all people together using dance as their words. In only 5 years and with over 250 students, Ballet 5:8 expands further and further each year. Their performance at the Chicago International Dance Forum will undoubtedly blow this audience away.

To learn even more about Ballet 5:8, you can go to their website (linked above) or follow them on Twitter!

Have A Laugh!

Have A Laugh!

Ballet is a serious business. It can take a lifetime to perfect a technique, to strengthen your abilities to emote or to connect your story with your audience. As serious as a dancer is about their craft, there’s also a funny side to the art of ballet. With all of the time spent focusing, rehearsing and exercising, it’s not too hard to imagine that dancers need a good laugh now and then. It’s never been said (or said with any truth, that is), that ballerinas don’t have an awesome sense of humor. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. And when comedy meets ballet, all rules go out the window.

Today being Friday, we’ve decided that it’s probably time to share a good laugh with our readers. First off, here’s a terrible joke told to us by one of the studio’s instructors:

“How many dance teachers does it take to change a light bulb?

Five!… Six!… Seven!… Eight!”

It’s terrible but, you laughed and you know it.

So, about that good laugh that we just promised you… We’ve, once again, scoured the internet to find one website and videos from YouTube that are guaranteed to make you laugh. First, the websites.

That last joke we told you was also found on the page that we’re about to recommend now! These jokes come from none other than The Rockettes themselves! Who doesn’t want to be a member of that prestigious kick line?! And, of course, they would come up with hilarious/groan-worthy cracks like these! Now, for the videos that you were promised. We won’t spoil them for you if you haven’t seen them already but, we are going to provide you with a tiny little description and review of them. So, here we go!

1.) This first one is called Funniest Ballet Performance EverAnd boy is it ever! What makes this piece even better is that these dancers are clearly trained ballerinas! Not only do we get to see this hilarious parody of the awkward dancer character, but we’re also subtly exposed to some actual ballet. With the combination of the two worlds in one performance, this performance is laugh out loud amazing!

2.) Making the switch from somewhat genuine ballet to not at all, this video entitled Funny Ballerina: A Funny Ballet Dancingis clearly made purely for a bit of comic relief. With a few props and a few clever maneuvers, this routine is sure to bring a smile to your face.

3.) THIS. LITTLE. GIRL. IS. EVERYTHING. The video is Johanna Channeling Aretha Franklinis beyond hilarious as we watch little Johanna take the stage in a way that no one saw coming. No more description is necessary. We’ll just leave you to witness the magic for yourself.


Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

Tiny Dancers!

Tiny Dancers!

Pre-Ballet, Baby Ballet, Kiddie Ballet, call it what you like.

From a very young age, many little girl dream about being a ballerina; wearing a radiant tutu, having a perfect princess bun in their hair, and dancing their hearts out. They ask to go to a ballet class and then the whole family gather together to watch them become a star onstage at their first dance recital. Parents couldn’t be more proud of their little one as they remember their routine, follow close instruction and bravely go out in front of everyone to dance. Childhood ballet classes are a wonderful experience for the parents because their children is learning a new form of structure, discipline and art. But, what about the child? What is it about ballet that draws their interest?

In a little girl’s eyes, most ballerinas look like a fairy tale princess come to life. Their kind, beautiful and graceful. Once they see ballet for the first time, they’re hooked. They want to be that princess. They want nothing more to be beautiful and to dance gracefully without a care in the world. The dancers are beautiful and they seem to live in a world where everything is express through the most gorgeous music and delicate dances. The ease and fluidity of the ballerina’s movements is something that a little girl tries to imitate with all of the determination their little hearts can carry.

Soon, the tiny dreamer is insisting on wearing nothing but tutus and dancing their way all over the house. Every bed frame, chair and counter top soon becomes a barre for her to practice with. After a short while, it’s clear to see that this fascination isn’t going anywhere. And thus begins her first ballet lessons.

At this point, she will be introduced to her first dance teacher/ role model. This teacher will be the epitome of grace, beauty and elegance. And what makes them so special to the little ones, is that they get to learn and “play” with them personally. Most tiny ballerinas think of their first dance teacher as someone to look up to and emulate. They want nothing more than to hear their teacher yell “great job” while they rehearse for their first recital. And when they do get that recognition, their self-esteem sky rockets.

When they get home from their lessons, all they can talk about is what they did in class, their teacher said this, their teacher did that. It’s easy to see that they’ve been bitten by the performing bug and there’s not much of it going away. They eagerly go through their week at school, looking forward to that time in the week when they get to go to dance class. That is what’s driving them to be the best they can be.

When their first dance term is almost over, it’s time for the recital. To the parents, it’s going to be a cute performance of little ones dancing and having fun. For the tiny dancers, it’s a make or break, life changing moment. They’ll view the small auditorium as a giant palace filled with hundreds of people all there to watch what’s going to be an amazing performance. To them, this is the defining moment of their “career”.

Once they get on that stage, it’s time to show what they’ve been training for this whole time. They do their very best to remember each step, be brave in the face of stage fright and make their teacher immensely proud. All of this, is part of the thrill of dancing. All of the practice, energy and time spent devoted to these dances have all led up to this.  And once they’ve finished dancing, they’re filled with both pride and sadness because it’s all over now. What is there left to do?

I guess it’s time to start the next class…

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry


Icons: Margot Fonteyn

Icons: Margot Fonteyn

Ballet super star and crowd princess, Margot Fonteyn, was actually born with the name Margaret Evelyn Hookham on May 18th, 1919. At the age of 14, she was enrolled in the Royal Ballet School in the UK where she changed her name to Margot Fonteyn and was groomed to be the next prima ballerina. After displaying natural grace and talents, Fonteyn joined the Royal Ballet’s 1949 American tour where she portrayed Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty in NYC. Crowds were stunned by her performance and she was soon considered the most successful ballerina in the world.

After some time, Fonteyn met unfavorable Panama political figure Roberto “Tito” Arias and the two were married in Paris in 1955. While “Tito” was planning an invasion of Panama City, Fonteyn was made a Dame of the Order of the British Empire in 1956. After a failed invasion and a few more years of decreased work, Fonteyn considered retirement from the art of ballet at the age of 43. Fate had other plans. Fonteyn met her ultimate ballet counterpart Rudolf Nureyev. The two would go on to perform numerous classic ballets together that would become iconic pieces loved by generations. Her final performance was in 1986, at the age of 66, as the queen in Sleeping Beauty; the same ballet that began her road to stardom. Fonteyn passed away of cancer on February 21st, 1991. She is still remembered today as the little princess who stole the hearts of many in New York and would become one half of one of the greatest ballet duos of all time.

Pre-Performance Traditions

Pre-Performance Traditions

Tonight’s the Summer Showcase!

Performances begin at 7pm!

With the energy and excitement that’s overwhelmed our academy in waiting for tonight’s performance, there are many things to do like setting up the stage, position the lights, queue up the tracks for different numbers, check costumes, etc. There is one thing, however, that happens before each performance that remains sacred and secretive amogst the performers.

Pre-Performance Traditions

Every sport has their set of traditions. Hockey players avoid the number 13, basketball players don’t wash their socks, swimmers tuck a lucky charm into the suits. Well, dancers have their own set of traditions which can vary from dancer to dancer. But, what is the point of these rituals? Performers and athletes are very superstitious by nature. Sometimes, a superstition is based on an event of pure coincidence: Susan ate a banana before the show and had the performance of her life! It looks like Susan’s going to be eating a banana before each show from now on! Or a superstition has been passed down for countless years: Stage actors believe that saying the name Hamlet will bring bad luck upon the theatre and doom the show forever unless someone stands outside the theatre and names three other Shakespeare plays.

Sure, performance traditions may seem silly. But, the idea of special rituals before a performance is a time honoured tradition. So to our dancers going on tonight, revel in your traditions. Know how special you and your traditions are. And…

Break a Leg!!

Student Spotlight: Shelby Vennekotter

Student Spotlight: Shelby Vennekotter

2017 marks the 14th Annual Seoul International Dance Competition.

The Seoul International Dance Competition is an annual competition in Seoul, South Korea where dancers from all over the globe travel to compete and introduce the arts and culture of their homes. This year, we are proud to announce that Plainfield Dance Academy’s very own Shelby Vennekotter has been invited to compete in the finals a the Seoul International Dance Competition. It is a huge honor in the arts to be considered for this competition and an amazing opportunity to showcase the best and the brightest in the world of dance. Shelby began dance at Millers Dance Studio in Denver, Colorado. Her dance studies included… ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, musical theatre, and Irish. After a series of moves, Shelby came to Plainfield Dance Academy in the spring of 2014. Under the direction of Altin Naska-Owner Plainfield Dance Academy, Olena Nalyvaiko, Corinne Emmenegger and Reida Dobi. Her studies focused on ballet, contemporary and character, and she quickly decided to make ballet her life.
Shelby attends Laurel Springs School which is an accredited online private school. Shelby’s ultimate goal is to be in a professional ballet company.


Her accomplishments include acceptance to numerous renowned schools of dance including:

1. Denver School of the Arts
2. Cincinnati School of Creative and Performing Arts
3. Harid Conservatory – Boca Raton
4. Kirov Ballet Academy – Washington DC
5. Zurich Opera Ballet School – Zurich, Switzerland

She has earned prestigious awards such as:

1. 2014 Carrie Rose Winski Scholarship award 3rd place
2. 2015 YAGP (Youth American Grand Prix) Indianapolis Regional classical and contemporary Junior division top 24
3. 2015 IIBC (Indianapolis International Ballet Competition) accept as a competitor
4. 2015 Carrie Rose Winski Scholarship award 2nd place
5. 2016 YAGP Chicago Regional classical and contemporary Senior division top 24
6. 2017 YAGP Chicago Regional Classical and contemporary Senior division top 12

Shelby performed in Zurich, Switzerland in a benefit for domestic abuse as a part of a trio choreographed by Eurika Rorto just last month as the headlining group. While attending the Plainfield Dance Academy, Shelby auditioned and won the role of Cinderella for the Wheatland Dance Theater’s 1st Spring full length production of Cinderella. Currently, Shelby is company member of Wheatland Dance Theater, a youth studio company of Plainfield Dance Academy.

Plainfield Dance Academy could not be more proud of Shelby for all that she has accomplished in such a short time and wishes her the best of wishes in the Seoul International Dance Competition. We can’t wait to see what lies ahead of her as she continues to follow her dreams and pursue her passions.

Congratulations, Shelby!!