Ballroom dance champion Elena Grinyenko leads at class at the Broadway Theatre Project
Tampa, Florida -- Most of us can't imagine having to train our replacement. But there's a different way of thinking in the entertainment industry. On the stage at least, there's a tradition of handing down knowledge to a new generation.
That's what the Broadway Theatre Project is all about. For 22 years, BTP has trained aspiring Broadway actors, singers and dancers by bringing in excpetional and accomplished performers.
On a recent day of classes at the University of South Florida, ballroom dancing champion and former Dancing With the Stars pro Elena Grinyenko led a group of apprentices in a lesson latin dance. This particular class was made up of dancinig newcomers who were grateful for the one-on-one attention.
"To be able to learn from these fantastic minds and to have their encouragement and to be able to share their knowledge, I'm just soaking it up like a sponge. It's been great," said Heather Cox, a first-time BTP apprentice.
Logan Denninghoff was an apprentice himself at BTP a few years ago. The training--and his talent--paid off. Denninghoff just wrapped up the national tour of the musical "Beauty and the Beast" playing the role of Gaston. But he came back to BTP to teach.
"People that go to BTP are always working," said Denninghoff. "I find that all of my friends that I went to the Broadway Theatre Project with are out in the world doing amazing things. Whether it's choreographing, dancing in shows, Broadway, being in TV and film. All of them are blossoming."
And in a business that's incredibly competitive, the professionals are helping a new generation of performers blossom.
"You have your own career, but I feel it wouldn't be as much if you didn't pass on the art and make it someone else's and inspire someone else," said BTP apprentice Nick Dawson.
The apprentices and faculty will be showing off their talents at a series of shows this weekend--including a Festival Finale on Saturday, July 28 at 3:00 & 7:30 p.m. There is also a special performance by BTP Artistic Director Ben Vereen on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Click here for more information about tickets to all of the shows.