Members of the Tempe Dance Academy recently journeyed across the pond for a dance retreat to Europe.

The venture is a biennial trip where dancers perform in six different countries across Europe such as London, Paris, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

Some of the dance routines are nearly an hour long, and are a mixture of new and old pieces.

The dancers also visit different monuments at each of the six countries.

More than 80 people attended the Europe trip, with nearly 23 attendees being dancers.

Ahwatukee resident Cassie Lindsey began dancing with Tempe Dance Academy when she was a freshman at Mountain Pointe High School and fell in love with the program.

“We do performances, but the trip is mostly about getting to know the culture,” Lindsey said. “The performances are really fun.”

Lindsey, who recently graduated from Mountain Pointe, attended a Europe trip two summers ago, and said she was able to get a deeper understanding about cultures in different countries.

“Every time you go it’s new, and I’ll definitely have an open mind and listen more because last time I was so taken in with where I was,” Lindsey said. “I haven’t been to London yet, so that’s going to be new to me.”

This year’s trip is exceptionally special to Lindsey because she will be saying goodbye to Tempe Dance Academy and will be attending Arizona State University in the fall.

“I’m definitely going to come and support all the girls because we have made a family,” she said. “I’m going to miss performing the ‘Spirit of Christmas’ show in December, and competing. I’m so thankful I was able to go to different places with Tempe Dance.”

Director Wanda Manville began taking her dance groups to Europe 36 years ago, and said the trips are a learning experience for her students.

“You just see how much the kids learn and how much they grow,” she said. “This makes the kids appreciate what we have done and also shows them how much history is over there.”

Manville, who has taught dance for more than 61 years, said the trip was one of the most memorable experiences for her students.

“They all look forward to it,” she said. “They talk about it for years… I still have kids who went to the first trip and they still talk about it.”

For more information on Tempe Dance Academy, visit www.tempedance.org.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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