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November 15, 2012

Student brings dance company to town for benefit

The Daily Star
Cooperstown Crier

---- — Cooperstown Central School junior Lucas Lyons will perform with the professional dance company Phoenix Project Dance.

A performance is scheduled at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, in the Nicholas J. Sterling Auditorium at the Cooperstown Middle/High School. All proceeds will benefit Cooperstown’s Angel Network, a local organization responsible for assisting with needs of Cooperstown area children and their families.

The idea of performing to raise money to help a cause is not new to Lyons and the Phoenix Project, having performed at Symphony Space on Broadway in August of 2011 to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research. When the company was approached by Lyons about donating its time and staying an extra day after a performance in Hamilton to help the Angel Network of Cooperstown, it was a resounding “yes,” according to a media release.

The release said with the necessary coordination complete, assistance from classmates and friends, and sponsors contacted to defray the costs for building use, it will be possible to donate 100 percent of the proceeds to Cooperstown’s Angel Network.

When Lyons is not in school, playing football, running track or practicing for last week’s performance in the high school musical “Footloose,” he can be found at Perkins Dance Studio in Norwich. He has been dancing for the past nine years at the studio and was asked last year to become an apprentice dancer for the Phoenix Project Dance Company, which was established in 2004.

Over the years since its inception, the Phoenix Project has performed in Greece, the U.S. and Canada, with performances this past summer in Old Forge, Lake George and by special invitation at the Nazareth Dance Festival in Rochester and the 31st annual Downtown Dance Festival in Battery Park, New York City, in August. Of their performance of “Stonehenge” (which will be performed in Sunday’s show), Alastair Macaulay wrote in the New York Times, “five men and eight women lifting, swinging and throwing one another in applause-winning feats.”

“It was awesome to perform in Battery Park. Being on stage with the Statue of Liberty behind me was something I will never forget,” Lyons said.

Dancers for the Phoenix Project come from as far away as Canada, Pennsylvania, Florida and New York City, with many having professional training from schools such as The Ailey School, Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, Fordham University, the State University College at Brockport and Point Park University.

Tickets for Sunday’s performance to benefit the Angel Network in Cooperstown are available for a $10 donation at the door. For more information, go to phoenixprojectdance.com, or go to The Angel Network of Cooperstown or Phoenix Project Dance on Facebook.