Omaha Mobile Stage kicks off Youth Talent Show series with Dance Night at Gene Leahy Mall

By: Delaney Henton

Young dancers stretch and practice at Gene Leahy Mall’s Performance Pavilion lawn thirty minutes before show time. 

Omaha Mobile Stage, a mobile venue that provides a platform for artists of all ages, hosted its first youth talent show of the season on September 9, 2022. Young artists showcased their dancing talents in front of family, friends and passersby. 

From contemporary movements to folk dances, the participants expressed themselves.

Check out more from the night: Everything We Saw at the Omaha Mobile Stage Youth Talent Show by Bridget Fogarty

Eric Beba, an award winning motivational speaker, life coach, and entertainer, was the emcee for the themed “Dance Night” youth talent show. He started the night off with laughter and left the youth acts, ages 3-18, to take the stage with dance routines of all genres and to be judged on originality and creativity, audience appeal, and artistry. 

The judges were Laura Sambol, a former Radio City Rockette who is on the faculty of Adair Dance Academy, Domanic Brown a choreographer, teacher, and dancer, and Ellie Stanard, an Omaha native who has been involved in dance throughout her whole life. 

Omaha has a unique legacy when it comes to mobile talent shows. Dating all the way back to 1952, the City of Omaha Parks Department operated the Good Fellows Show Wagon for 59 years as a traveling youth talent show series. Hundreds of contestants performed for thousands each summer. 

Omaha Mobile Stage values the process of creative placemaking, the act of giving all creatives, artists and cultural organizations a place to be a part of in their city. 

This talent show series highlights two of the project’s creative placemaking goals: increasing access to the performing arts, and increasing intergenerational gatherings in public spaces. 

The impact the arts have on youth is unlike any other. The roar after each performance was contagious, as well as the smile lines that lasted the whole night.

For more information about Omaha Mobile Stage visit www.omahamobilestage.com or email Kaylea at kaylea@livable.org.

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