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Celebrity with local ties pays a visit to Double Play Sports

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LOWVILLE — Ms. Nicky’s preschool dance class at Double Play Sports Community Center had a celebrity guest.

Lifetime’s “Project Runway” season 12 finalist Bradon P. McDonald sat in on the group’s Christmas party last week to visit with great-nephew Henry, 2, and former dancing partner Nicole A. Manzer.

“They’re showing me something today,” Mr. McDonald said of the class of four. “It’s fantastic. Henry has been buzzing around the room a little bit, but he picks it up and does it at home exactly what he’s supposed to do and all terminology. It’s amazing how much he absorbs, and he’s just two.”

“I’ve known Brady since I was young. In the company we danced together,” Ms. Manzer said. The two also have several family members in common.

Ms. Manzer and Mr. McDonald were students under the tutelage of the late Donna Foote and her daughter, Rhonda Foote. Ms. Foote now operates the dance studio Rhonda’s FooteWorks in Watertown.

Mr. McDonald made waves this past fall when he finished fourth on “Project Runway.” Before entering fashion design, he had a 10-year dance career with the Mark Morris Dance Group, and long before that he was a student at Lowville Academy and Central School. He spent only one year out of the district — his senior year. He graduated from Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts in 1993 and later the Juilliard School, New York City, in 1997.

Mr. McDonald lives in Los Angeles with his fiance, Josh, but was in Lowville to spend the holidays with his family. He and Josh are expected to get married in Los Angeles in the spring.

Mr. McDonald was interested in seeing how a dance class with children as young as 2 was conducted.

“I never taught dance to — I think my cutoff was 5,” he said. “When I was 15 years old, I started teaching for Donna and for Rhonda.”

Ms. Manzer is the only dance instructor at Double Play Sports Community Center, 5450 Shady Ave., after Rhonda’s FooteWorks relocated to Watertown this summer. She teaches ballet, jazz, tap and clog to students as young as 2 years old and as old as eighth grade. Classes run from September to May with summer camps. A new class is expected to begin in January for anyone who was unable to sign up for the fall session. Anyone interested in learning more about Double Play Sports Community Center’s offerings can visit www.doubleplaycc.com or call 376-4496.

To learn more about Mr. McDonald’s latest exploits, follow him on Facebook at Bradon McDonald Fashion Design, or on twitter @bradonPAUL.

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