Hugs from Young Choreographers is an annual charity event held at the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance main building. The program is a showcase of original choreographic works by the top level company members of Roswell Dance Theatre (the in-house company at Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance). They present three benefit performances, with seating for 300 at each show.

The Choreographers select a charity each year that will be the recipient of the funds raised at HUGS. In the past charities have included Erin’s Hope for Friends, Camp Grace, Butterfly Wishes for Ellie, Star House and many, many others. While HUGS weekend is a chance for our Choreographers and their dancers to showcase their talents to the public, through the process they truly learn how much more blessed it is to give than to receive.


Just after company placements are announced in early June, the Choreographers meet with the event coordinator Mrs. Mary to select their casts. No dancer from any level of the company is allowed to be in more than 3 dances, as the rehearsal schedule gets quite challenging. The Choreographers contact each member of the cast and when the list is set, they select music that fits their vision and get to work scheduling rehearsals. It is a lot of work to develop their ideas into a masterpiece!

One of the Choreographers takes the lead to organize, teach and rehearse the HUGS opening number. Any company dancer who wants to get involved with HUGS is welcome to join the cast!


It is completely up to the Choreographers to teach and rehearse their piece with their cast throughout he summer and early fall. Since many dancers travel to summer intensives this can be tricky.

Rehearsals for the HUGS opening number are not held until the beginning of the school year, after all interested company dancers have had a chance to join the cast.

When HUGS weekend is just a week or two away, Mrs. Mary schedules and directs a full dress rehearsal to iron out the kinks in the schedule and help the dancers put the final polish on their pieces.


HUGS performances are held on Friday evening and Saturday of HUGS weekend. Along with the shows, the parents of the HUGS Choreographers put on a silent auction that features different items at all three performances. The performance schedule is as follows:

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Auction Prep
Dress Rehearsal
Setup, Decorate
Evening Show
Early Matinee
Late Matinee
Clean up
I want to find a way to participate in this amazing experience.