Local 'fab five' dancers heading to Broadway

Rhett Breedlove
Posted 5/15/24

TORRINGTON – When we hear the word Broadway, about a million exciting things come to mind.  

We think of bright, beautiful New York City (NYC) lights welcoming an eager audience for …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Local 'fab five' dancers heading to Broadway


TORRINGTON – When we hear the word Broadway, about a million exciting things come to mind. 

We think of bright, beautiful New York City (NYC) lights welcoming an eager audience for what is sure to be an incredible show. World-class performers dazzle thousands with elaborate dance choreography, gorgeous costumes designed by the most creative intellectual minds, and an overall experience sure to make an audience feel overwhelmed with joy and sensation.

When it comes to Broadway, we think of what an astounding feeling it must be to be up on the stage, in the spotlight where so many could only dream of. To describe the feeling and presence of performing in an authenticated Broadway show as indescribable no doubt would be an understatement for those who have never experienced it.

It’s a chance millions of aspiring dancers, singers, actors, and musicians worldwide dream about their whole lives, but so very few actually get the opportunity.

Perhaps something which would never come to mind when we think of world-class Broadway is…Wyoming.

Wyoming? What on earth does a state filled with more livestock than people have to do with world-renowned entertainment on perhaps the grandest stage of them all?

The truth is five young ladies, four from Goshen County and one from Scottsbluff, will have the opportunity of a lifetime to not only see a Broadway stage; but in fact, actually dance and perform on one.

The story doesn’t stop there, however. County residents Alissa Shade, Tessa Larkin, Madyson Bannister, and Ava Mattis along with Scottsbluff resident Jaelyn Ogeda will be training, dancing, and performing with already established and prominent dancers, choreographers, and directors for the Arts for Autism Benefit Concert in NYC on June 17.

The young ladies will have only a short time frame to learn and perform an entire dance routine for what is sure to be thousands of high-class audience attendees not only from NYC but from around the world.

According to the Gering-born professional choreographer, owner, and operator of both Kash Choreography and Poyd’s Dance Company, Kayleigh Schadwinkel-Hickman, the five ladies in her eyes will have no problem stepping up to the challenge. 

With such talent and confidence, she has seen in the young ladies, it has earned them a telling collective nickname.

“I call them the ‘Fabulous Five,’” Shadwinkel-Hickman said. “They have been very involved in their local dance studios and teams, and they have been amazing leaders from my position. I personally feel that, and also, it’s an exciting challenge for everyone. They have done and gone so many extra miles for the program and have worked extremely hard. I am extremely humbled by all the hard work they have done locally, and it all gets to be debuted on a Broadway stage.”

As the “Fab Five” ladies’ dance choreographer and coach explained, the very stage the girls will be performing on has been graced in the past by incredibly big names. Additionally, many currently recognized artists will be taking the night off from their normal performance obligations to dance with and mentor the girls. 

While normally on a nightly basis, they would be utilizing their talents to entertain a distinguished crowd of thousands, raising crucial money to help spread awareness for those on the autism spectrum remains the concert’s top priority.

“They have some of the most famous people on Broadway who will be taking one night off to be a part of this benefit concert,” Schadwinkel-Hickman continued. “They will be making their debut at the Amsterdam Theatre. Barbara Streisand performed Funny Girl there back in the ’60s, and it has also been home to several Disney musicals. Mary Poppins debuted there, as well as Aladdin and the world-renowned Lion King. So, with that, we are very excited for our Eastern Wyoming and Western Nebraska students.”

The entire duration of the show will be a cabaret-styled performance, celebrating and paying tribute to popular well-known Broadway numbers from the past as well as shows still running.

As Schadwinkel-Hickman put it; despite the immense hype and excitement for the opportunity, the professional choreographer originally from Gering stated it all starts with local community dance studios who make it all possible from the beginning.

“I’m so grateful to my roots which have given me the foundation to look at the world a bit differently,” Schadwinkel-Hickman explained. “It all connected me to Shelby Larkin who would then help connect me to the local studios in the Torrington area. I was very blessed with that, and just feel very lucky as a choreographer to work with such amazing students in the Torrington-Scottsbluff area. That area is a gold mine when it comes to the phenomenal talent here. I am very lucky I have gotten to work with them. As far as myself personally as a professional, I work with as many as 1,000 to 3,000 people in a year across the nation. I feel very lucky for the time frame I got in getting to work with these girls.”

“I am personally very excited just to sit back and watch their hard work pay off,” Schadwinkel-Hickman continued. “I want to be able to see their eyes and literally see them feeling what it’s like to be up there with professionals and work their craft on that stage. I know I’m going to love all the hard work they have done at their local studios, with other teachers, and directors, and the work they have done with me. I want to be able to see all this done on the stage, and just see their smiles and go, ‘Wow. We’ve really done it.’ That is by far the best reward we can get for this program; seeing these students and just being in awe of what they have accomplished.”

If there is one thing these five young, talented performers from a tiny rural area in between Wyoming and Nebraska have proven, it is that no dream is too big, and no goal is unattainable. When we use the talent we possess and have the right guidance and positive people around us, anything is possible. 

So many individuals in the world tend to become lost in the big picture. The Fab Five have proven sometimes we get found in the small one.