It was almost showtime and in a crowded, makeshift “backstage” off P.S. 89’s cafeteria, parents fretted over their children, primping, applying lipstick, combing hair, adjusting tutus.
Loretta Thomas, the artistic director, flitted nervously around the room, begging one mother not to let her daughter eat sticky candy (“it won’t come off the costume”), giving last-minute hugs, exhorting everyone to stay quiet.
“Watch out for your wings!” she implored one girl who was practicing a running jump. “No cartwheels!” she said in exasperation to another.
This was Moving Vision’s Murray Street Studio 11th annual spring performance at P.S. 89. Thomas’s dance school, which she began 30 years ago in her loft, is one of the oldest in the neighborhood. It has 65 students, age 3 to 15, and Thomas remains its only teacher.
In the three decades since she began teaching, Thomas has remained faithful to her muse, Isadora Duncan. The afternoon’s graceful moves were an ode to Duncan, considered the mother of modern dance. The performers skipped and ran and leapt across the stage. They stretched their arms and torsos. Some wore satin tunics, others flowing dresses that whirled about. For a finale, performers tossed rose petals around the stage as they danced to Brahms.
Thomas also performed, as did Catherine Gallant, P.S. 89’s dance teacher. The two have danced together professionally for more than 20 years.
After the show, everyone met in the cafeteria where the tables were spread with cheese platters, cupcakes and pizzas brought by the parents.
A few days later, a calmer Thomas reflected on the event, recalling years when a bad case of stage jitters led to a student crying or even refusing to go on stage.“This year was so smooth,” she said cheerfully. “I was so thankful!”
Moving Visions Dance
19 Murray Street, 3rd Floor
(between Broadway and Church Street)
In Tribeca near 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, N, R, A and E trains
Email: lthomasdance [at] aol.com
Phone: (212) 608-7681 Hours 9-6