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Blue Lapis Light Aerial Dance Interview with Sally Jacques

Blue Lapis Light in Austin, Texas, is a site-specific aerial dance company founded by Artistic Director Sally Jacques in 2005. Her earlier works encompassed social, political, and spiritual themes. These performances have evolved to delve into movement through the air – extending limits, defying boundaries, and suspending graceful athleticism for the danger of igniting fleeting beauty.

According to their websight, “Blue Lapis Light seeks to transform urban environments into inspired works of art, creating beauty that transcends space in their expansiveness, connecting us to a sense of wonder, possibility, and hope. The company’s name draws from Ghandi’s description of a meditation practice, wherein the soul merges with Eternal consciousness taking the form of blue light.”

Sally reports their studios are situated on nearly three acres of land where they have two 27′ aerial dance studios with sprung wood floors and 20′ mirrors.  This provides a peaceful and tranquil environment for students attending their classes.  Company members are the instructors and provide an atmosphere of encouragement, support and inspiration.  Each of them is highly skilled in aerial arts as well as a number of them in ground dance techniques. They teach classes in aerial silks, harness instruction, as well as modern, ballet and yoga.

Her (more…)

Twisted Bodies Interview with Carissa Laitinen-Kniss and Khristen Pahler

According to Carissa Laitinen-Kniss and Khristen Pahler, Co-Owners, Twisted Bodies in Denton, Texas, is not just a studio. “Twisted Bodies” is a home to a growing team of passionate caring people, who provide intelligent training to individuals of all backgrounds and ages. From dance, to aerial arts, yoga and Pilates, Twisted Bodies is dedicated to giving recreational classes and training to professionals. In addition to on-going classes, Twisted Bodies is also a teacher training center for yoga, aerial yoga, aerial Pilates, and more. Additionally, they host on-going performances and house a professional aerial dance company that performs throughout the United States.

They believe that Twisted Bodies stands out among other dance studios because it is more than just a dance studio. They begin everyone with Pilates training to condition their bodies for higher level performance. In addition, their professional track students go on to learn a variety of circus arts from aerial silks to Lyra hoop.

They are the proudest when they see the triumph and success in their student’s eyes from age 6 to 75!

They believe that the biggest mistakes dancers make is when they focus on technique and performance all the time which is wonderful. However, not enough emphasis is placed on conditioning (more…)

Boucher School of Dance Interview with Karin McCarthy

A great place to grow up! This is one description provided for Boucher School of Dance (BSD) in Oxford, Massachusetts. BSD focuses on creating beautiful, well-rounded young people who are able to achieve their goals with confidence and grace. A fun family environment where dancers are encouraged to explore who they are and be confident in their selves!!

Karin McCarthy, Owner and Director, believes that her dance studio stands apart amongst other studios because they are a fierce studio where each dancer is successful in the world not just the dance community.  Additionally, the Director, Faculty, Parents, and Dancers work together to make each season a success for each dancer.

Karin has had many proud moments as a couch but her proudest is that moment when you are in class and you see the “light bulb” moment on a dancer’s face that says “I can do this. I am worthy, this is my passion and I can do this!  This is more than the steps I am being taught. This is my very breath, my home, my solace.” That moment is priceless. It is worth more than all the titles, trophies, dancers performing or in colleges all over the Nation. Okay, Karin has (more…)

Gracie’s Guys and Gals Dance Studio Interview with Grace Myles

grace mylesGrace Myles (Gracie) is the Owner and Artistic Director of Gracie’s Guys and Gals Dance Studio in Hollywood, Maryland. She describes the studio as a friendly, family-oriented, clean studio for ages 3 through adult in many disciplines of dance. Their staff is very talented, some with college degrees in dance and some with professional dance background (Disney, Stomp, and Tap Dogs). Gracie and her staff are very pleasant and welcoming and their recitals are more of a show rather than a recital with elaborate stage decorations. They just expanded the studio this summer, and they have four dance rooms, a little café for the kids to hang out, with a sofa, kitchen counter with stools, , plus a large lobby with a TV for the parents.

In Gracie’s opinion, they are unique among other dance studios for a number of reasons including the fact they offer extra activities such as a Halloween Party and Dance and a Block Party to kick off the season with games. Additionally, they are involved in community services and shows.  They also have picnic tables and a playground outside with a basketball hoop and a very large lobby. Obviously, the studio thinks of the entire family and tries (more…)

Colorado Conservatory of Dance Interview with Julia Wilkinson Manley

Group PhotoAccording to Julia Wilkinson Manley, CEO & Artistic Director, Colorado Conservatory of Dance (CCD) in Broomfield, Colorado, believes in a better life through dance. Colorado Conservatory of Dance serves a broad spectrum of students every year and is committed to every student regardless of age, ability, aspiration, or socio-economic status. CCD students regularly win top honors at area ballet competitions and gain entry into some of the nation’s most respected college dance programs and summer dance programs. CCD provides its students with high-quality performance experiences that include a year-end Gala performance and CCD’s annual production of The Nutcracker, which brings students together with professional dancers. The school’s Student Company gives upper level students a pre-professional company experience that includes community education performances and culminates in an annual production at the end of each school year. Additionally, CCD provides a summer dance program, which attracts students from across the nation. Additionally, CCD is a non-profit dance education organization.

The Colorado Conservatory of Dance provides the highest quality dance education in both contemporary and contemporary styles.  CCD uses dance to foster community, create positive influence and inspire the individual.

They serve more than 400 students per year and are committed to every student regardless of (more…)

Dawn Crafton Dance Connection Interview with Dawn Crafton

Three Young DancersDawn Crafton Dance Connection (DCDC) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is considered a second home to most of their students. It is a warm, welcoming and supportive environment and they are just a big dance family. They have been around for more than 60 years and have taught generations of families in their community during that time.  The younger dancers look up to the older dancers and the older dancers take the little ones under their wings to mentor them.  Graduates and their families make it a point to come back for recitals, competitions and other activities to say hello and support the younger students.

Dawn Crafton Dance Center’s professional faculty offers classes for all ages, all levels and all genres. The Dance Connection offers recreational to intensive programs for dancers of all ages and abilities in a wide variety of disciplines: Ballet, Pointe, Contemporary, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Conditioning, Leaps and Turns, Pom Technique, Creative Movement, Pre-School Combo Tap/Ballet, ZUMBA! and Yoga.But, according to Dawn Crafton, their Founder and Executive Director, what really sets DCDC apart from other studios is the unique wealth of life lessons, actual experiences, a great combination of backgrounds and extensive connections they can, and do, pass on and (more…)

Artistic Fusion Dance Academy Interview with Jennifer Jarnot

Ladies DancingArtistic Fusion Dance Academy in Thorton, Colorado, is co-owned by two sisters, Jennifer and Julie Jarnot. They are also co-Artistic Directors. Jennifer describes Artistic Fusion as a studio that instills their dancers with the proper training of dance and dance technique while providing life tools to help them grow in their own personal development, to create the power of self and to nurture each dancer’s spirit individually and creatively.

Artistic Fusion is a nationally acclaimed dance studio that trains students in the art of dance and the beauty of life. Their goal is for each dancer to experience life lessons as they grow in an artistic atmosphere.  No matter what age the dance student is or what level they are at, there is a place for them at Artistic Fusion.

Artistic Fusion Dance Academy’s recreational dance program is second to none. Their amazing faculty provides recreational dance classes in ballet, pointe, contemporary, tap, jazz, hip hop, leaps and turns, and pilates. Their state of the art dance facility serves the entire Front Range and North Denver Metro area. They offer a variety of classes for students of all skill levels and ages from 18 months to 18 years of age. Their faculty consists (more…)

Genesis Arts Interview with Lori Struss

RehearsalLori Struss, Owner of Genesis Arts in Columbia, Maryland, describes their studio as “Family.” She says they are all one-dance family where they accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They strive to compliment and support each other.

Genesis Arts offers training in dance, fitness, and musical theatre in order to help their students achieve their personal goals for confidence, health and happiness.

Genesis uses costumes, classroom attire, and music that is appropriate for the age of their students.  Also, they have wonderful professional teachers who come to work each day prepared to help those students achieve their goals! Genesis has instructors available for both group and solo lessons. Additionally they have teachers available for choreography, coaching, training, events and parties.

Dance instruction begins for all students from 12 months of age to adult and training for the beginner to the pre-professional! They offer ballet, pointe, modern dance, hip hop, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, tap, acrobatics and conditioning.

Genesis’ nurturing and supportive atmosphere helps their students, from the youngest to the more mature dancers, grow into the dancers and people that they want to be.

Their fitness classes train preteens to adults with offerings in Pilates, Yoga, Pilates, Strength Training, Cardio Aerobic Dance, Plyometrics, Flexibility and Weights. Their (more…)

The Dance Institute of Washington Interview with Kahina Haynes

BalletKahina Haynes, School Director, describes The Dance Institute of Washington (DIW) in Washington, D.C., as a family oriented organization that is truly dedicated to cultivating well-rounded, talented dancers and leaders. Their staff knows each and every student by name, and each child is given individualized attention which, Kahina believes, gives their students a one-of-a kind experience when they walk through the Institute’s doors. Additionally, DIW works to instill self-esteem, discipline, and a drive for excellence among all of their students and Kahina believes the successes of these efforts can be seen in the school’s accomplishments and those of DIW alumni.

It is Kahina’s opinion that what distinguishes The Dance Institute of Washington from other dance schools is the demographic and unique populations of students with which they have the opportunity to work. A majority of their students come from disadvantaged and/or low-income backgrounds and many of them would not have access to the quality of dance training Two Ladiesand enrichment that DIW is able to provide to them free of charge. Dance is a form of artistic expression and all children, regardless of their background, should have access to it.

When Kahina asked staff members and fellow instructors what was their “proudest moment” while (more…)

The Kennedy Dancers, Inc. Interview with Diane Dragone

Red Dress for BD DancewearThe Kennedy Dancers (TKD) is a non-profit professional, American dance company based in Jersey City, New Jersey. The company was founded by Artistic Director Diane Dragone in 1976, in an effort to bring high quality dance training and professional performances to the New York – New Jersey Metro area.  Since its inception, the company has grown to respond to the community’s special needs serving low income, at risk, incarcerated teens, and senior citizens through diverse dance classes offering fun, fitness, and performance opportunities.

TKD has grown to include a community dance school, dance programs in local public school systems, including programming designed specifically for the physically challenged, learning disabled and urban youth, dance programs for the elderly, and Dance Vista, a cable television program that focuses on emerging dance artists.

Their professional dance company dances a regular season each year in and around Jersey City. Each year the company’s public performances reach 6,500, and their touring performances reach an additional 2,000. The Kennedy Dancers tours have ranged the mid-Atlantic coast, from Washington, D.C. to New England. The company’s video has also been shown in international venues in France, Spain, Germany, Austria and Malta. Additionally, the Kennedy Dancers’ presentation of Artistic Director Diane Dragone’s (more…)