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The Park Slope youth dance troupe that was robbed of $10,000, yet was able to re-raise that cash just in time to enter a prestigious dance festival in Scotland made its victorious return on Sunday, having been the only American representative at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival.
“We’ve worked really hard to get to this point, but we were blown away by this whole experience,” said Dancewave Director Diane Jacobowitz, just months after a travel agent scammed her troupe out of the thousands they saved up for the festival. “These moments — the bad and good — we will remember for the rest of our lives.”
In fact, the troupe of teens made so many waves with its six modern performances at the classic festival that the dancers were asked to come back to a bigger competition in Edinburgh — where the adult professionals go to play.
But months ago, none of this seemed likely. Indeed, just getting to the land of Scots was something out of “Mission: Impossible.”
In January, the troupe revealed that a shady business called Adam Travel had stolen all of its funds — hard-earned cash raised with the troupe’s own part-time jobs and some benefit shows — in a con that made Jacobowitz think she was buying airline tickets when she was really paying $10,000 for unpaid seat reservations.
Luckily, after reading our coverage, a lawyer gave the Fourth Avenue company some pro-bono representation, which resulted in the bank repaying the expensive fraud. The Slope community rallied around the troupe, which received donations of $10,000 from Nick Kotsonis, owner of the S Club fitness center on Union Street, as well as endowments from other businesses like Corcoran Realty and British Airways.
The money landed the troupe some worldwide attention. But the dancers’ modern routines at top-of-the-line venues like His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen have landed them a possible invitation to the Edinburgh International Festival, a world-renowned dance celebration for the best and bounciest.
Jacobowitz joked that there will be a hefty price tag for that festival, too, but said that she’s not worried.
“It took us a whole year to get to Scotland and nothing could deter us,” she said. “We were able to surmount all obstacles — getting to Edinburgh will be a matter of keeping our spirit.”
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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