Helping HandsA feature about people whose work touches our life

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014

  • Updated Friday, April 25, 2014 7:03 am

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ILKA DOUBEK

Founding director of Litchfield Dance Arts Academy

Bio:

Native of Omaha, Neb.

One of 18 members for the Frankfurt Ballet in West Germany, then worked with Hamburg Balley in Northern Germany

Performed solo one woman shows throughout the U.S. and Europe

Choreographed for major opera houses in Belgium and Germany

Currently artistic director of the Litchfield Ballet Foundation

How did you get started with Litchfield Dance Arts Academy?

I started the dance school in 1995 in the small building where the Salvation Army is located now.

I taught 10 girls who desperately wanted me to teach them dance.

One of them was my daughter, Lida.

She was actually one of the big reasons I started the dance school.

I wanted my daughter to have formal danced education like I had in Nebraska.

I took Royal Academy of Dance classes and incorporated that into our curriculum.

After another move, we finally settled in our current location at 97 Otis Drive.

What do you like about teaching dance?

This is my passion. I am still learning all the time and I am never bored with dance.

Our goal is to offer as many different dance styles as we can and make sure kids are versatile when go out in the real world.

Even if they don’t get a dance scholarship, they can go out nand represent themselves in a professional manner.

Our students, mostly girls, but some boys, are already decent citizens in the world. They have learned so much more than dance that will serve them for life.

On a baby level, we are trying to make sure they develop coordination, skills, confidence and a love for dance, and to express themselves through dance.

It is not every child’s cup of tea, but if we can instill a love for movement at an early age we have done our part.

Probably the most rewarding thing is to be a spring board to catapult our students out into the world.

Many of our students may not become professional dancers, but they do become successful human beings.

Why would you suggest people get involved with dance?

The benefits for mind and soul are amazing.

We start with 3 year olds who need to learn how to skip. We see them develop so much from week to week and month to month.

For adults, even in their 50s to 70s, it is a matter of keeping coordination up, usually taking classes as a group.

Do you have any events coming up?

Yes, on May 31, we will be hosting an event called “Wines of the World” or “WOW.”

It is a wine tasting to raise money for our dance school.

Girls will serve hors d’oeuvres and some will be dancing vignettes.

It will be lots of fun, and people will really enjoy it.

For more information, people can visit our website at www.litchfielddance.com, or call 843-237-7465.

Can you tell me about your family?

My husband, Tom Fox, is an international opera singer who is on a tour through Europe right now.

Our daughter, Lida, just turned 20 and is an international fashion model.

She is spending a lot of time in London, Paris, New York and Los Angeles.

She also goes to South America to do fashion shows down there.

She is doing very well.

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