ORANGE BOWL BOUND—Under the direction of Mary Jo Major, 14 area dancers will perform in the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl half-time show in Miami, FL, on New Year’s Day. The dancers from Major School of Dance will appear with country musician Jake Owen and dance, cheer and drill teams from across the country. Participating in the college bowl game show are (from left, row one): Rebekka Kingman, Abbie Norris, Michelle Roberts, Lauren Cueller and Destiny Horkavy. Amanda Price is in row two with Stephany Santellano, Allison Norris and Elizabeth Tjelle. Joining Anna Gerber in row three is Alyssa Erickson, Mackenzie Smith, Alexis Tjelle and Cheyenne Phillips.
2013 Discover Orange Bowl
Tuesday, Jan. 1
7 p.m. on ESPN
Ann Gill Editor
Annalese Gerber has always wanted to travel for dance and she's about to get her chance.
Gerber and 13 other dancers from Major School of Dance are headed to south Florida where they will perform with Grammy nominated singer Jake Owen during the Discover Orange Bowl half-time show on New Year's Day.
The Coal City dance studio was invited to participate in the college bowl game and all dancers between age 12 and 29 were offered the opportunity.
Studio owner Mary Jo Major said the dancers are excited to be performing for a nationwide audience. They have been putting in long hours perfecting the four dance routines they will perform during the show. Choreography for the performance is by Cris Judd.
Each of the dancers is expected to arrive in Florida knowing the dances, so they've put in about 11 hours of rehearsals in the past week. When they get to Florida on Saturday, Dec. 29, they will spend around 16 hours in additional rehearsals working along some of the nations top dancers and choreographers including Judd, Travis Wall, Stacy Tookey, Jamal Sims and Randi Lynn Strong.
Gerber and her fellow dancers say they are looking forward to working with the dance professionals.
"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Amanda Price, of Braidwood, who's been dancing for 24 years-the majority at Major's studio.
Price, who teaches tap at Major School of Dance, will experience the bowl game performance with her daughter, Rebekka.
The other half-time performers are Abbie and Allison Norris, Alyssa Erickson, Alexis and Elizabeth Tjelle, Stephany Santellano, Mackenzie Smith, Destiny Horkavy, Lauren Cueller and Cheyenne Phillips of Coal City and Braidwood resident Michelle Roberts.
Abbie Norris said she's looking forward to the entire experience ahead of the group, but is most excited to perform on the Sun Life Stadium field with the various dance, cheer and pom teams that will make up the half-time entertainment.
In addition to performing on the field, the dancers will be able to take in the football action between the Huskies of Northern Illinois University and Florida State Seminoles.
Norris said having an Illinois team playing in the game adds to the excitement of being part of the Orange Bowl.
This is the second time Major School of Dance has been invited to take part in a college bowl game, Major and her dancers traveled to Orlando, FL, 20 years ago to participate in the Citrus Bowl.