The festival’s many performances will highlight multiple companies and genres, from swing to hip-hop to classical ballet. In the past, the festival has featured one company for the week.
Gates said that although the festival format has changed a bit, presenting organization CaDance’s mission to present high-quality, yet accessible dance remains the same.
This is Grosskreutz and Schwimmer’s first appearance at the festival; Grosskreutz said she found out about it through a friend of her mother.
Both she and Schwimmer started dancing as toddlers, and began performing together when Schwimmer was 5 and Grosskreutz was 7, she said. They are cousins of actor David Schwimmer; Benji’s parents ran a hugely popular dance studio, and his father Buddy created the Nightclub Two Step.
“We’ve danced together for over 20 years,” Grosskreutz said.
Then, when he was in California and she was in New York, they heard about the auditions for the TV show. Schwimmer instantly decided to try out, but Grosskreutz held out for awhile before auditioning.
“Then I just had a feeling that I should,” she said.
Next thing they knew, the cousins had each made it to the top four, independent of each other.
They’ve since become teen idols, with online message boards dedicated to dissecting their every performance and Web pages full of screen shots from the show.
“When it’s good, you’re bound to like it,” Gates said. “And Heidi and Benji are good. I’ve been very fortunate to tap into my network to bring these talents. You never see folks like this on the Artists’ Theatre stage.”
The duo will perform swing at the festival’s gala, which will highlight local talent as well as stars from companies from around the world.