‘A Night of Wonder’ for Spindrift Studios’ inaugural recital

Colleen Carroll as the white Angel in "Gangster's Paradise." — Photo by Joe Mikos

“Wonder” was the theme of the night as the dancers of Spindrift Studios took the stage at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Performing Arts Center last Wednesday — specifically, Stevie Wonder, as well as the wonderment of children and teens exploring their love of dance and music, and an audience aglow in admiration. The magical night marked the first public performance and recital for Spindrift Studios, the Edgartown-based music and dance studio that opened this spring.

The Mike Benjamin Band provided the musical backdrop, with vocals provided by Joanne Cassidy and her talented voice students Darby Patterson, Lucie Dougherty-Soares, and Samantha Cassidy. Special guest Gordon Healy stepped up to the mic for a few numbers as well.

The dancing began with the youngest ballerinas, tufted in clouds of tulle and cute as can be, and the scene was set with a bedtime story. Sandy Stone, Spindrift founder, teacher, choreographer, and overall maven of the evening, showed the sleepy little girls a classic jewelry-box ballerina, which the girls each tried in turn to play with, but too roughly, as they were shooed off to bed. As the girls nodded off, the jewelry-box ballerina was brought to life by professional dancer and Spindrift teacher Caitlin Cook, who awed the girls with the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”

Next up, things got jazzy as students reached for “Higher Ground,” with hot stepping, leaps, and even some acrobatics. The number ended with Joanne Cassidy dramatically spying a spider on the stage, and tap dancers coming to her rescue to stomp the bug and delight with rhythm, while Gordon Healy crooned “Ebony Eyes.”

Hip-hop and modern dance numbers followed, with ample opportunity for students to show their stuff, including a chance to freestyle in the circle of dancers. Hip-hoppers popped and locked to “Gangsters Paradise,” a Coolio track that heavily samples Mr. Wonder’s original “Pastime Paradise,” and spangled girls in overalls leapfrogged to “I Wish.”

The show’s finale, set to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” featured the entire cast as well as some special choreography for the audience. Sandy Stone led the pack from center stage, as dancers spilled out into the auditorium aisles and out the doors. Everyone was having fun, thanks to this great collaboration of talented folks, from professionals to first-timers.
Since opening its doors this past March, Spindrift Studios, located at 258 Edgartown Vineyard Haven Road, has offered an assortment of dance and music classes to children and adults, including ballet, modern dance, hip-hop, tap, Zumba, and other fitness-inspired classes, as well as guitar and ukulele instruction. For info on the studio, its classes, and a schedule of upcoming events, check out the website at spindriftmv.com, or visit the Spindrift Studios Facebook page.