06/23/14 — Visiting dancers make stops at local school

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Visiting dancers make stops at local school

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on June 23, 2014 1:46 PM

Summer campers at School of Goldsboro Ballet are getting a taste of modern dance and Irish dancing from two professional dancers who have toured throughout the United States and all over the world.

Kelly Gallagher Fritzinger is an Irish dancer who performed with Michael Flatley's "Lord of the Dance" for four years.

Fleming Lomax is a Goldsboro native who has performed with dance companies in Colorado and Asheville.

Mrs. Fritzinger, 29, began taking Irish dance lessons at 5 growing up in Cleveland, Ohio. She took lessons until she was 22.

She got a college degree in engineering, and worked as an engineer for about eight months.

Then she joined Lord of the Dance and toured with the show for four years all over the world.

"Michael Flatley has come in and out of retirement and isn't always on tour with the show," Mrs. Fritzinger said. "But when we performed in Taiwan, he was on tour with us. He's a huge superstar all over the world and it was awesome meeting him."

She said it's always been her dream to be in Lord of the Dance ever since it started when she was about 12.

"As an Irish dancer, it's just the coolest thing to be in a whole two-hour production of Irish dancing," she said.

But it was not all glory. It was a lot of hard work.

"Sometimes when we had two shows in one day, we were just exhausted at the end of the day," Mrs. Fritzinger said. "We had ice buckets that we would jump into to ice down our legs. Some even went into an ice bucket up to their hips. It can be tiring, but when you're on stage, you don't really feel the pain because the audience is there and you feed off the audience."

During the summer ballet camps, she's teaching the dancers a little soft shoe number and a group dance that's more traditional.

"Teaching these kids Irish dance, they're having a hard time keeping their arms still like you have to do in this kind of dancing, but they're getting there," she said.

Mrs. Fritzinger recently moved to Goldsboro with her military husband and hopes to set up a youth dancing program on base.

Ms. Lomax returned to Goldsboro to teach ballet and modern dance. She's working with the students on concepts and different types of dance qualities -- the basics they will need to dance well.

Ms. Lomax began dancing when she was just 4 1/2 after sitting in on a friend's ballet class.

"Watching the class was torture because I wanted to do it so badly," she said. "I begged to take lessons. I was completely enraptured at 4 1/2. Within a week, I was in a ballet class."

Taking lessons at the School of Goldsboro Ballet, Ms. Lomax got to dance the coveted part of Clara in "The Nutcracker Ballet" three times. But the part that she enjoyed most was Snow Queen.

"Clara's magical," she said. "You get to experience the magic on so many levels. But the role I really felt passionate about musically was Snow Queen."

Ms. Lomax studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts and continued her education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, getting a degree in dance education.

She taught dance at Palm Beach County School of the Arts in Florida, then moved to Denver, Colo., to dance with Kim Robards Dance Co., a modern dance group that toured throughout the state.

She also danced with Ballet Nouveau Colorado until 2005, when she moved to Asheville, where she still dances professionally and teaches at the Asheville Ballet.

But that hasn't keep her away from her hometown of Goldsboro. She recalled when she returned to dance in the ballet version of "Our Town."

"That memory is particularly poignant because I had the opportunity to come back here and perform in my hometown and do a ballet that's very special to me," Ms. Lomax said.

Dancing is exhilarating, she said.

"It's the time of my life when I feel the most connected and the most authentically myself. I think that's why I was drawn to it as a very young child and why I've continued it. It connects me to a part of myself I would never had accessed if I hadn't had the opportunity to dance."

Director of the School of Goldsboro Ballet Mary Franklin said the purpose of the summer camps is to go into intensive training.

"We bring in guest artists so the students can be exposed to different styles and techniques of teaching," she said.

"And our ballerinas need to know other styles of dance as well."

The students will perform what they learned this summer at the annual Love of Dance fundraiser in September.