Tuesday, May 3, 2011

2011 The Summer of Dance

Dance is everywhere. It’s not just in theatres and on stages across the world- it’s on TV and billboards, in movies and all over the web. “So You Think You Can Dance” is now in its eighth season, Natalie Portman took home an Oscar for her portrayal of an obsessed ballerina in Black Swan, and let’s not forget High School Musical and the dance-filled “Glee”! Upcoming movies featuring dance include Footloose, Rock of Ages and Move. More and more dance clubs are being formed every year, and ballroom dance has been elevated to a competitive sport. Dance Schools are getting into the action by offering performance teams, team dance, performance based workshops, and other highly specialized groups that compete for top prizes.
Since the golden days of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, and even before, there have been remarkable dancers in Hollywood, many of whom were trained as children in small, inconspicuous, dance studios run by a teacher that was passionate about dance. Today, with so much demand for dance, dance schools are hoping to ride the wave of interest.

Studios know that to produce talented dancers requires commitment from the dancer, the dancer’s care givers, and the instructor. Festival Dance Academy, a local dance school that is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2011-2012, has a tight curriculum for teachers to follow. It is important for a teacher to be personable, care about her students, and encourage excellence – both in the studio and out. An excellent dance education includes the development of properly executed dance technique as well as social skills, artistry, and above all confidence.

For the body, it is well known that dance develops coordination, flexibility, stamina, large muscle strength, small motor skills and control, rhythm, and balance. For the mind, dance develops concentration, discipline, focus, spacial awareness, and a mind/body connection.

To get started in dance, whichever genre is chosen, a summer workshop is often a wonderful way to test the waters. Workshops are a short, intensive dance experience that provides the new dancer the chance to explore dance without committing to a weekly class. Locally, dance workshop selections are rich and variable with options for all ages.

As early as May 23rd, one can begin a week long Celtic Dance workshop for the beginner or intermediate dancer. The same week is a Ballet workshop that is geared toward the dancer that has had a few years of dance to advanced dancers ages nine to adult. There is a very popular “Ballet Princess” workshop June 13-17 for ages four to seven, a mini musical performance workshop themed “The Music Man” July 11-15. A workshop based on the Broadway hit “STOMP” in mid July for students in 4th through 6th grades, and an annual intensive Ballet/Jazz workshop the last week in July called “Dance Idaho.” Many of the workshops perform their final showcase in dance presentations for the community at local Farmer’s Markets, fairs, and parades.

With dance options like these, it is now easier than ever to join into the dance craze while getting fit and connecting your mind to your body.  Go to www.festivaldance.org for workshop and dance class schedules or call 883-3267.