Jump, Spin, And Twirl With The Windfall Dancers

The Windfall Dancers provides a space for young and old alike to get active. Their studio includes two sprung dance floors, which is unique to Bloomington.

  • Windfall 1

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    Photo: WFIU/Megan Meyer

    The Windfall dancers prepare for their next show.

  • Windfall 2

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    Photo: WFIU/Megan Meyer

    Windfall hopes to convey the message that dance takes all comers.

  • Windfall 3

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    Photo: WFIU/Megan Meyer

    Windfall makes good use of their space by providing dance classes for children and adults of all skill levels.

Event Information

Reduce Reuse Re-dance

A performance by the Windfall Dancers in collaboration with the University and Highland Park Elementary Schools to develop recycling-themed choreography.


John Waldron Arts Center

April 23-24 8pm

Windfall Dancers Event Page

What does it take to be a dancer?

Kay Olges: It takes commitment.

Ashley Donaldson: Dedication and willingness to sacrifice some things on the outside.

Nicole Brooks: You need to love your body. I read a dance book once that said you should treat your body like a little puppy.

Neil Parsons: Dancing keeps us young.

Brooks: I love being a dancer as an adult because, especially with modern dance, I feel like you bring so much of your life experience to it.

Parsons: And you kind of have to remove some of the things that become part of our adult lives.

Olges: You have to decide how important that is for you and your life. It’s a decision.

Donaldson: But it’s worth it because I tell you what, when you sit in an office all day, you’re like “I’ve got to move after this.”

Home Sweet Home

It’s a chilly Saturday morning in Bloomington, Indiana. The sun is starting to peak through the dozen or so windows in this large space with vaulted ceilings and a bank of mirrors at one end. The sound of bare feet patting on the wood floor echoes throughout the room.

This is a rehearsal by the oldest community modern dance collective in town: The Windfall Dancers.

In 2006, they purchased an old church on Dunn Street and turned it into two dance studios, both with white oak sprung dance floors. This is a unique space to Bloomington.

“There are places that have a nice open space with great lighting, but you’re still on concrete,” said Kay Olges, the President of the Board of Directors for the Windfall Dancers. “So, to have an actual sprung dance floor is pretty cool.”

Getting Children Dancing

Windfall makes good use of their space by providing dance classes for children and adults of all skill levels, in addition to holding rehearsals and some performances by the dance troupe in the large dance studio.

The children’s programs include Creative Movement, Modern Dance, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, and Hip-Hop. Windfall also boasts two youth companies, both of which do community outreach.

After taking a 12 year hiatus from dance to start a career and raise a family, Olges mentioned that it was through her daughter’s interest in the youth classes that she decided to revisit dance in her own life. “I reached a crossroad, where I said, ‘Do I want to say that I’m never going to dance again, or am I going to dance?’”

So, she looked for a place that would be open to the concept of mother-daughter dance. She found Windfall and has been dancing with them for 15 years now.

Breaking the Mold

We all have an image of a ‘dancer’ in our minds, whatever that particular stereotype happens to be. “If people have the rail thin ballerina image in their minds, they’re going to be thinking that they never eat,” Olges said.

But, Windfall hopes to convey the message that dance takes all comers. “We’re not about how big or small (you are), how stretched out (you are), or if you can lift your leg up to your ear,” she said. “We’re about doing the best you can do using good technique that’s safe for your body.”

Dancing for Adults

This is especially relevant for the adults who come to dance later in their lives. Olges said that some older students had steered clear of dance because they did not fit into that certain image of a dancer. “My mom said I was too clumsy, my dad said my feet were too flat. And then finally, they found us and said ‘Okay, I’m going to do it now!’”

The levels of students in the adult classes run the gamut, but Windfall accommodates everyone from beginners to life-long dancers.

Like many of her colleagues in the adult dance programs, Olges said that dance fills a need in her life. “For me, dance is a sanctuary,” not only because you have to remember the choreography in your mind, “but then you also have to translate that into the movement in your body.”

But according to Olges, the ultimate goal of dancing at Windfall, both in the troupe and in the classes is to leave the studio with a sense of satisfaction. “That, and joy.”

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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