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NFA Presents The Grinch

All-Dance Production Includes Over 200 Students

   Newburgh Free Academy’s performance of Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch comes alive on Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3, 2016. With over 200 students involved in the performances this is one of NFA’s largest productions.

   According to dance teacher, director, and choreographer Mandy Clifford, “Over 180 students involved are in the Advanced Dance Department, and we are also fortunate to have students who wanted to help with stage crew and additional students from the construction classes at NFA who helped to build the set. Construction students designed and built the mountain and slide into Whoville used by the Grinch through-out the performance.”

   With over 200 students in the cast, The Grinch is no easy feat. “My biggest challenge has been to keep everyone organized - not only to be sure that they know the choreography and when to be on stage, but too make sure that everyone has a costume, Who-like hair and makeup, that they fully understand how a large scale performance like this works, and to be sure that everyone gets their moment to shine. It is a large task, but with the cooperation of the students, I believe we will give a memorable and professional level performance,” said Clifford.

   Pearlasha Cook plays the Grinch and shared what makes the performance so special to her. “The hardest obstacle for me to overcome was just being mean. I'm always joking around and laughing so having to be all mean and cranky was definitely a challenge for me. I feel as a team the hardest obstacle for us to overcome was just being a team. We had to learn to put our personal issues, feelings and emotions aside. We had to learn to just dance as a team. Of course this was hard, but with every performance we get better at it and because of that our team gets stronger,” shared Cook.

   Fellow cast mate Gabbie Levy plays Cindy Lou Who and explained that she aspires to pursue dancing after Newburgh Free Academy, “I plan to minor in dance in college, so this performance along with previous roles has helped show me what working with others is like. I hope to be in various dance shows next year and on the college's dance team. Performing in The Grinch and being on the Advanced Dance Team has granted me integral life skills, such as patience and respect and has given me a love for performing.”

   Lexus Marie Perez has various roles in the production including a who, Mother of the Grinch and the makeup artist for the Grinch. Perez shared, “I feel like the biggest obstacle for me was being a former gymnast for 10 years and going into dance and learning different techniques and similar skills, but done differently. I think being in Advanced Dance has taught me to work together as a team and be more open minded. I will def-initely take what I have learned with me to college.”

   Performances are Friday, December 2 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, December 3 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door and general admission only.

   Newburgh Free Academy is located at 201 Fullerton Avenue, Newburgh, NY.

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