The New Vision Dance Company will perform publicly for the first time at 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 19, at Fit Life Dance Fitness Studio, 1930 Schrock Road in Westerville.
The dancers are raising money for costumes and staging July 25 and 26 at the Garden Theater in the Short North.
New Vision was founded by New Albany resident Melissa Gould, who initially formed the dance company seven years ago while living in Seattle. She moved to Ohio two years ago with her husband, Jim, who was recruited by L Brands.
Gould was teaching at the Movement Center School of Dance in Canal Winchester, she said, and decided last year to form another dance company of the same name as the Seattle group.
"I am flabbergasted by the talent of the people I found here," Gould said. "Some are post-college, in their fall-back career, who've spent their whole life training to be dancers and are not performing. There's no place for them to perform unless they are classically or ballet-trained."
Molly Sullivan of Pickerington is one of those dancers.
Sullivan said she has been dancing at the Movement Center School of Dance for most of her life. She graduated from Pickerington High School Central in 2008 and continued to choreograph the school's chorale show choir. She graduated from Otterbein University in 2013 with a major in accounting and a minor in dance.
Now working as an accountant for KPMG, Sullivan said, New Vision Dance Company is just what she was looking for.
"I was looking at all kinds of opportunities to dance and perform so it came at the perfect time," she said. "It's a really great group of people and everyone wants to be there."
Sullivan recruited her three best friends and roommates from Otterbein, all of whom are now members of the dance company.
One, Chelsey Loschelder of Westerville, also a 2013 Otterbein graduate, is a choir director at Licking Heights Middle School in Pataskala. She said she majored in music education and minored in dance and has been dancing most of her life, starting at age 3.
Loschelder said she was not sure she would get to perform as a dancer again until Sullivan told her about New Vision Dance Company.
"Throughout my life, dancing has always been my outlet," Loschelder said. "If I was stressed, that was the place I could get away. I've missed that since I've graduated (from college)."
Sullivan's other former roommates and current dance company members are Kelsey Gorman and Emily Burk.
Gould said she has recruited 13 others, including two men. She said they all practice Sundays for six to seven hours at the Movement Center School of Dance in Canal Winchester.
The other company members are from Columbus, Lewis Center, Pickerington, Powell, Sandusky and Westerville, Gould said.
They include some professionals who have retired, like herself, and all are passionate about dancing, she said.
The fundraiser on April 19 will feature snippets of the eight pieces Gould has choreographed for the group, which will be performed in their entirety July 25 and 26 at the Garden Theater in the Short North.
The show will include performances by guest artists Leyla Billman and Kitty Mystique of Black Market Belly Dance and Fitness and Christeen Stridsberg of Columbus Moving Company.
Gould said admission is $5 at the door and proceeds will pay for costumes and staging for the July performances.
Gould said she is applying for nonprofit status for New Vision and hopes to have the company performing twice a year.
She described the company's style as "more contemporary jazz" but, she said, the April 19 show will feature a variety of dancing.
"It's going to be a really good show," Sullivan said. "It's got something for everyone: serious, fun, sassy. Anyone who comes to see it will really enjoy it and they'll get to know us and the company."
Gould said she originally is from Freemont, Calif., and she received her bachelor's degree in dance from San Jose State University. She worked with local high schools and colleges choreographing productions before dancing professionally in Guam, Japan, Korea, Seattle and on cruise ships. She said she also choreographed productions for shows in Las Vegas.
She retired at age 31 after marrying Jim, her high school sweetheart. She and Jim live in New Albany with their children Jessica, 12, and Joe, 11.
For more information on the New Vision Dance Company, email firstname.lastname@example.org.