Our mission is to provide dance education, performance opportunities, community outreach, and appreciation for the performing arts in Shelby County and throughout the surrounding areas.
It was with this in mind that Sharon Arnold and six of her young dance students began the development of a repertory dance group in 1980. This group, growing to fifteen members by close of 1980, started performing for local service clubs, schools, and other organizations in and around Sidney.The enthusiasm with which these performances were received resulted in the fully chartered, non-profit organization, Sidney Dance Company.
Today, the Sidney Dance Company is a semi-professional theatre company providing classes in ballet, jazz, modern, tap, acrobatics and vocal/musical performance. All positions within the company are auditioned each year, with members ranging in age from 10-18 years old. Our members are from the Miami and Shelby counties. Each member is held to strict academic and behavioral requirements. Beyond the stage, our member learn leadership, self-discipline, civic duty, confidence and so much more!
Zachary Hill (President)
Stephen Bodey (Treasurer)
Heidi Meyer (Secretary)
Sharon Eikenberry (Production Liaison)
Molly McFarland (Artistic Director)
Judy Westerheidi (Emeritus)
Suzanne Lentz (Emeritus)
For our 2019-2020 season, Sidney Dance Company will stage two productions: the classic Christmas ballet The Nutcracker and the 42nd Street musical. For over 30 years, the company has produced and performed in over 100 semi-professional performances with each show averaging over 500 attendees. Sidney Dance Company casts range in ages of 3 years old to 99+ and include community members outside our company members. Our repertoire includes Cats!, Swan Lake, Cinderella, Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Seussical and many more. Through these performances our young students and local artists participate in semi-professional stage production.
Putting together high-quality productions with backdrops, props, sets costumes, stage makeup, lights, sound, rentals, etc. incurs quite a bit of cost. While we sell tickets to our productions, we strive to keep prices affordable so people of all socioeconomic backgrounds can attend. That is where our sponsorships and donor dollars help bridge the gap. We would be unable to perform without our generous sponsors and donors!
Each year, the Sidney Dance Company offers half and full scholarships to Sidney Dance Company members. Funds are available for members whose family meet certain income requirements. If you are interested in reviewing our scholarship application, we’d be happy to provide a copy.
The Company was a great support system when I needed it. Dance is what I use to get me through the hard times and also, what makes the good times. I wouldn’t be following my dreams like I am today without the Sidney Dance Company.Cayla Roberts (SDC Alumni, Fort Wayne Ballet)
For over 20 years, the Sidney Dance Company has worked with the local area schools to identify low-income children with the desire to perform on stage. The selected children are invited to be part of the show without worry about costume pieces, dance shoes, makeup, hair, and food. The Sidney Dance Company covers all their costs and offers free tickets to their parents to come see their child light up on stage. This program provides an opportunity to be part of a team, working toward a goal and a chance to be in the spotlight. The make new friend, are mentored by older cast members and encouraged to follow their dreams. In 2018, we supported 16 children from the surrounding areas for our performance of Cats! and five performers for 2019’s Swan Lake
During the season, the Sidney Dance Company provides funds towards professional workshops for our members. These workshops are primarily held in Sidney. It’s a great opportunity for our members to have world class training from around the country.
Every three to four years, our company works towards a trip where they can visit professional theaters and dance studios and take intensive workshops on site. We have supported intensive dance workshops from B&H Movement and Walt Disney World. For our 2018-2019 season, company members traveled to Chicago, IL to participate in multiple intensive workshops in ballet, modern and aerial dance.
One of our most impactful programs is the 4th Grade Field Trip Performance. For the past 30 years, the Sidney Dance Company provides semi-professional musical or dance performance for the local community students in the 4th grade as part of our community outreach. This is a small snippet of the larger performance and gives students an opportunity to view a live, semi-professional ballet performance and to ask questions of the performers and crew. Last year, public and homeschool students from Miami and Shelby counties attended our performance of Swan Lake. Your support goes into the rental of the theater space for that day, food for the performers and payment for local artists providing support for the show (orchestra, lighting, sound)
Every year, our students leave with a wonderful experience which expands their interest and knowledge of the arts. Thank you for this wonderful program! Many of our students wouldn’t have had this artistic exposure otherwise.4th Grade Teacher at Jackson Center
As a nonprofit organization, the Sidney Dance Company invests in a local business to train their dancers each season. Our members take a minimum of five classes each week through Sharon’s School of Dance. We have created a partnership where the Sidney Dance Company pays a minimum of half of the tuition of each of our member so that they can be properly trained without the strain of finding funds to do so. If they are unable to cover the other half of the tuition, they can utilize our Dance Scholarship program to cover additional costs. Fortunately, our area has talented instructors. The required company classes are taught by professionals in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, modern, and musical theater each week. Our member are also invited to expand beyond those required classes and attend additional classes like hip-hop and acrobatics free of charge.
When it’s show time, we hire professional directors, choreographers, music directors, conductors, pianists, orchestras and sound and lighting techs. These individuals can interact with our cast and allow them to learn about all aspects of show productions.
I learned my craft and the amount of time it would take to get better. She was adamant that we be at rehearsals. She not only gave me a love of dance and performing, but to respect it. She expected a lot from us.Jill Larger (SDC Alumni, said of Sharon Eikenberry)
Returning this year will be our Schools in Partnership outreach program. This program began in the late 1980s to bring dance education into gym classes around Shelby county. We send our local class instructors to participating schools to teach a gym class in various dance styles. For our 2019-2020 season, we are attempting to revitalize this program and get dance education back into schools. Sponsorship helps cover the cost of instructor fees and music selection.
We feel it is important that children who find their niche in performing arts can hone their passion without worry of paying for classes. New for the 2019-2020 season, the Sidney Dance Company will sponsor a minimum of two children from our Low-Income Child Performer Program so they can take ballet and tap classes at Sharon’s School of Dance. Many students from Sharon’s School of Dance continue on into the Sidney Dance Company as full members. If we can start early by helping those unable to afford classes, but willing to put in the work, we can change lives.
Our board member and parent guild reach out to volunteer in the community. Most recently, our members volunteered at the Shelby County Bicentennial US Air Force Band of Flight performance to serve Shelby County’s 200th Birthday Cake. We have also set up at various festivals like the Backstage Block Party to serve food to attendees. Parades and special events are also events that we actively participate in each year. Spending time in our community is important to our organization to build up the leaders of tomorrow.
Membership with the Sidney Dance Company is a family affair. Company parents are part of a guild that is the backbone of our organization. Parents build sets, organize fundraisers, prepare playbills, seek donations, chaperone trips and so much more! Through these parents hard efforts, the Sidney Dance Company is lower a significant portion of the costs associated with classes each quarter. Without our strong volunteer base our organization wouldn’t be possible.