OLEAN — “Morph dancers” from Dance Arts Studio have been rolling through the area to dance and deposit painted Dance Arts Rocks.
The dancers, Maria Wheeler, Angelina Napoleon and Elizabeth Ronolder, were also photographed by their dance instructor and photographer, Tamara Hilmey, who shared their images through posts on the Dance Arts Facebook page.
From 6 to 7 p.m. today, the morph dancers with the program will dance and hand out rocks in front of the Olean House on North Union Street to those who would like to stop by to meet them and take a rock home. The dancers will practice safe, social distancing while handing out the items.
Hilmey said she also photographed the dancers in “wonderful and unique” locations in the community while they participated in activities that included biking on trails and kayaking.
“We left painted Dance Arts Rocks at each location and encouraged our dance community to hunt for them and get out to explore the community,” Hilmey said. “Dance Arts has supported the artistry and education of dance for 40 years here in Olean, and would like to encourage safe and fun ways of engaging our community this summer while highlighting the talents of our dancers.”
Dance instructor Laurie Donner said the morph dancers wear a unitard, which covers their entire body from head to toe. The outfits not only provide a unique appearance, but also have a built-in mask, which are important to wear during the pandemic. She noted the bright and colorful suits were also worn by the dancers a couple of years ago for other performances.
“I think the idea behind the morph suits is to create interest in Dance Arts and our dancers … and to serve interest in the community,” Donner explained. “The kids have missed being in the studio and we’ve missed having them.”
She said Dance Arts director Marcia Gallineaux-Hubert has been fascinated by painted rocks, and had promoted the community project — Gallineaux-Hubert took it upon herself to paint the rocks for community distribution.
“All I’ve heard from everybody in the community is how fun this has been to see the girls in different areas of Olean,” Donner said. “And it’s giving the teachers a chance to see their dancers, and a chance for them to see their teachers because we never really got to finish our season.”