Dancers Find New Homes for Their Old Costumes
Byline: Eileen O. Daday
Lindsay Wodarski, 16, of Hoffman Estates figures she started taking dance lessons at the age of 2 and performed in her first recital at 3. Over the years, her recital appearances multiplied, and so did her leftover costumes.
"Periodically we'd go through some of them, but they really added up," says Wodarski, who studies at Dancing Feet Dance Studio in Hoffman Estates.
Rather than hand them out to a charitable organization that might give them to children for dress-up play, Wodarski searched for a group that might need them as they were intended - for dance recitals.
She and her mother, Ann Wilkerson, found just such a group in New Mexico, called the National Dance Institute of New Mexico. The nonprofit group was founded on the belief that the arts have a unique power to engage and motivate children, they say. Through their dance programs the institute aims to help children develop discipline, a standard of excellence and a belief in themselves. During the past year alone, the organization taught 3,770 children in 50 New Mexican schools, including a residency program teaching 1,350 children in rural and American Indian communities.
Knowing their need, Wodarski made posters and fliers to circulate to classes at her dance studio. About 150 children take lessons there, from Hoffman Estates, Barrington, Palatine, Schaumburg, Rolling Meadows and Algonquin. Throughout June and into July, Wodarski collected used dance costumes, tap and ballet shoes, practice leotards, pants and shirts, and dance accessories, including sequined bows, feathers and tutus. …