Dear Teachers and Students,
I remember very well the first time I met a group of performers as they arrived off their plane at Frankfurt Airport. After an exciting tour with three performances, including one for the US Forces and two at amusement parks, the travelers returned home excited, more mature, full of stories, loving Europe, and dying to share with their friends and families all they had seen and experienced.
In 2003 Commonground Travel organised the first tour for a Baton Twirling Team from New Hampshire. The benefits for the travelers went far beyond the fantastic time they had spent in Europe. The schoolʻs trip was featured three times in their local newspaper, one of which was a front page story of their performance for the US Army in Germany. With this press the schoolʻs enrolment increased by 20% the coming year. One of the performers wrote an essay about her experiences on the trip which, as part of her college application, helped win her acceptance to Yale University. Another young lady recited her life changing European experiences during a pageant interview and was crowned Miss Teen New Hampshire.
Our program has grown so much since then and we have found many more fantastic performance opportunities for young dancers in Europe. We travel mostly to Germany, which is the country of my origin. It offers a friendly and safe environment for American travelers, proofed by the sheer number of visitors from the US, which averages about 3 million each year.
Our tour packages include centrally located hotels of three to four star quality, including breakfast, as well as additional meals, a private tour bus, an extensive sightseeing program, and all entrance fees and local historians to show you the sights. All tours are dance related experiences with at least two performances for your students and many opportunities to take class or see a European Dance Company perform.
Commonground tours are designed by keeping the whole family in mind, leaving you worry free to sit back and enjoy yourself. We take extreme pride in creating unique sight-seeing and performance opportunities with the goal to ignite the energy of young people and to channel it into unforgetable memories.
We hope to greet you in Europe in 2015!
Tour Director Wolfgang A. Bäumler has more than 21 years of experience in professional theatre management and has worked with international stars such
as David Copperfield, Max Shell, Sophia Loren, Richard Chamberlain, as well as with many European singers and actors. He has toured with numerous Broadway shows
throughout Europe such as West Side Story, 42nd Street, Crazy for You, Evita, Phantom of the
Opera, the hit musical Grease and The Rocky Horror Show.
Wolfgang is now producing his own shows. Currently he is working on an Irish Dance show called Gaelforce Dance, a children's ballet
of Cinderella, which is in collaboration with the choreographer Kathlyn Pope from the Staatsballet Berlin, and on Percussive Feet, a tap dance show from
“The travelers who come with me on a performance tour to Europe will benefit from my experience and the connections I have made throughout my career. I am able to open the doors for you to any venue in Europe!"
Artistic Director Jill Gorrie is a graduate of New York University's Tisch school of the Arts and holds a BFA in Dance. Currently on the faculty of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in NYC, CAP21, and many dance studios throughout the tri-state area. Jill also frequently teaches master classes, judges, and choreographs for dance competitions throughout the US and Canada. Her professional choreography has been seen in theaters off-Broadway, regionally, at BB King's in Times Square, on the stages of major European venues, and she has had the honor of guest teaching in South Africa, Germany and Italy. As a performer Jill has danced at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The St. James Theatre on Broadway, and across America in Broadway national tours and regional productions. Jill's true passion for traveling began in 1999 when she joined the European tour of the musical Grease which opened in Hamburg, Germany. As the dance captain for more than 10 years, and now the resident director and choreographer, she has enjoyed re-staging productions of Grease in Berlin, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Zurich, Basel, and Byblos Lebanon. It was while traveling with the production of Grease that she and German born tour manager Wolfgang Baeumler soon realized their shared passion for travel, history, and the performing arts. By combining Jill's background in dance education and performance, with Wolfgang's years of experience in tour management, together they formed Commomground Travel and have been enjoying the European travel adventures ever since!
Erica is a working actress in New York City. She can currently be seen in Evita on Broadway. Her recent accomplishments include the Original Broadway company of How to Succeed in Business starring Daniel Radcliffe (us. Miss Jones) and Mamma Mia on Broadway and on tour (understudy: Sophie, Ensemble). Other credits include the first national tour of A Chorus Line (understudy: Cassie, Sheila, Maggie, Judy), The Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Mrs. Claus) and regional productions of Grease (Marty), Oklahoma (Gertie), Hello Dolly (assistant director/choreographer) and Funny Girl (Polly). Erica has also traveled the world entertaining on cruise ships and has taught dance at NYU and at studios nationwide. Born in France and raised in Texas, Erica came from an international family and developed a passion for travel at an early age. She believes in the education of traveling while performing. To see history first hand and to have the ability to combine your passion is an educational gift!
Tour guide Rüdiger Schröder is a retired teacher from Hamburg, Germany. His knowledge of Europen history seems endless. If you point to any building during one of his tours, he will happily tell you it's meaning and history, while maintaining a fun and upbeat approach to the learning experience. Rüdiger has developed a very unique approach to teaching European history, and has the wonderful ability to paint the big picture, rather than focusing on the boring details that we all so often forget!
"I can't even express how grateful I am for everything you have done for us.You are AMAZING people! I love you guys and will miss you lots!"
"Wolfgang and Jill, you are awesome people (and tour guides)! Wolfgang, thank you for going the extra mile for us!"
"You both have made this trip an amazing experience for all of us. I am so glad that we got the chance to meet you. You will always be remembered and carried on in our memories. Thank you for everything!"