The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

November 14, 2012

Teen helps organize dance company benefit

By joe mahoney
The Daily Star

---- — COOPERSTOWN — Lucas Lyons is a young man who sees a need and figures out a way to respond to it.

The 17-year-old talented dancer and varsity football player for Cooperstown High School has plenty to keep him busy.

He’s on the bowling team. He’s a wrestler. He plays lacrosse. And he’s preparing to take the Scholastic Aptitude Tests that will help determine if he will be considered for the colleges from which he’d love to be the recipient of an acceptance letter.

Amid all this, this young man from South New Berlin is also looking for ways to help those less fortunate.

In recent weeks, he came up with the idea of organizing a performance of the Phoenix Project Dance, a Norwich-based dance troupe with which he is affiliated, at Cooperstown High School. The event, he decided, should benefit the Cooperstown Angel Network, a program that donates goods and services to needy families.

The 11th-grader broached the idea to his fellow dancers as well as to Cooperstown School District administrators.

The result: Phoenix Project Dance will preform at 1 p.m. Sunday in the Nicholas J. Sterling Auditorium at the Cooperstown Middle/High School. Donations of $10 will be sought from those wishing to attend, and the proceeds will go to the Cooperstown Angel Network.

“I thought this would be a great way for Phoenix Project Dance to get its name out in the local area, and also help the Cooperstown Angel Network provide food and gifts to local children during the holidays,” Lyons said Tuesday.

Lyons transferred last year to Cooperstown High School, from which his mother, Karen Lyons, had recently retired after 27 years on the faculty as a business teacher.

She has since become a licensed teaching assistant at the school. Lucas had attended Unadilla Valley High School, where he had been a varsity wrestler and football player.

He said he made the switch to Cooperstown because he felt it offered a more competitive academic environment, and thus might enhance his chances of earning a college scholarship.

As for which college he’d like to attend, he said his preference now is to head west, perhaps selecting a university in California or Colorado. He said he is thinking of pursuing a career as a health professional, perhaps a doctor, veterinarian or pharmacist.

Phoenix Project Dance was created by Amber Perkins, operator of Perkins Schoool of the Arts in Norwich, where Lyons has taken dance lessons since he was a young boy. Phoenix Project has performed in Canada, Greece, and several locations across the United States, including a festival last August at Battery Park in New York City, where Lucas performed while the Statue of Liberty was in view of the audience.

“He’s a very athletic young man, and he has very natural ability in a lot of things,” Karen Lyons said.

On top of everything else he is involved with, Lucas Lyons has also joined the theater group at Cooperstown High School. Last weekend, he performed in the musical “Footloose” staged at the high school.

Asked how his

involvement with dance has impacted his skills in other sports, Lyons said: “It helps me tremendously. It helps with my footwork, flexibility and agility. My vertical (his ability to jump) has increased five or six inches.”

Lyons said he is lining up corporate sponsors for Sunday’s event at the high school to defray costs for building rental and hiring custodians.

The goal is to send 100 percent of the proceeds to the Angel Network.

Given the wide

array of activities in which he has participated, Lyons was asked which one of them he most relishes pursuing when he attends college.

“Lacrosse,” he said. “It’s kind of where my passion has been.”

For more information on the dance troupe, visit website www.phoenixprojectdance.com.

For information about the local Angel network, go to Cooperstown Angel Network on Facebook.