Greensboro Dance Doesn’t Get Any Better Than ThisMay 26th, 2015 | By Julie Joyce | Category: Feature
Growing up in a town without any dance classes, I still dreamed of becoming a ballerina, despite the fact that I can barely walk in a straight line, routinely open cabinets into my face, and am about as graceful as Big Bird after a few martinis. I was absolutely convinced that I’d marry Mikhail Baryshnikov (until I switched to Alexander Godunov after seeing him in Die Hard and realizing that he wasn’t quite as short as Baryshnikov, although his turn in The Money Pit wasn’t so bad either) and named most of my stuffed animals with any Russian name I could think of (usually variations of Svetlana and Misha because I was a sheltered child and I couldn’t figure out how to accurately pronounce Nureyev.) That all could be why I’m so insanely crazy about the fact that my daughter is a dancer.
Or, perhaps, it’s the absolutely amazing studio she’s found.
In case you haven’t heard, Artistic Motion School Of Arts is a dance/drama/taekwondo/gymnastics/yoga studio in downtown Greensboro. They offer classes for everyone ranging from toddlers to people who are in their more, um, mature years. Before my daughter started taking classes there, I had this vision of two major things that a dance studio would produce:
- 1. Anemic recitals where I’d pretend not to be really irritated at the fact that I’d spent all this money to watch a few kids not know how to dance.
- 2. Complaints from my child that she was too tired or her tongue felt numb or she wanted to sleep or her hair ached when it was time for classes.
I cannot convey to you how wrong I was.
When the studio put on the first production that we were a part of, which was Prince Of The Jungle (based on The Lion King) I remember my husband getting his first glimpse of the show the night before it opened as the dancers were doing their final big rehearsal. He said it made him tear up because it was just so beautiful. He’s a bit sappier than I am (the lovely man!) so I was truly unprepared for how overwhelmed I was when we saw the show. It truly blew me away with its beauty, its choreography, and its overall…awesomeness. I was at a loss to explain it and still am.
I’ve seen many Broadway shows and I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed myself more than when I saw Artistic Motion’s first performance. Yes, I had better seats (there’s really no nosebleed section at Sloan Theatre that you still paid $200 for and where you struggle to wonder what that crazy Phantom is going to do next) but the whole performance was just amazing to me. We’d been shuttling our daughter back and forth to the performance space (Sloan Theatre at Greensboro Day School) for awhile and witnessed how hard everyone worked so maybe that was a part of it, too. Maybe it was just that it really was THAT good.
As much as I love these year-end performances (more on that later), one of my favorite things about the studio is the respect and camaraderie that the students have for the teachers, each other, and the parents. You know those kids that can’t speak back to you when you say hello and ask how they are? These aren’t those kids. These are kids who speak to you first, who hug you and say thank you for anything you do, who become your children’s best friends. Ever seen Dance Moms? This is the anthithesis of that. Just last night as I went to pick my daughter and her friend up from rehearsal, I walked past several kids that I had not seen before and every single one of them smiled and said hello to me. The social skills of these kids is off the charts, and as pessimistic as I am about the future of our youth (sorry but I was a goth so it’s in my nature) these kids make me happy and optimistic. These aren’t the kids who are going to be complaining that the world owes them something. They’re going to be doing things, big things.
So onto the performance…this year their performance is Esmeralda, based on The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Performances are on Saturday May 30th at 6pm and Sunday May 31st at 2pm. Tickets can be purchased here and are $15 each. If you have a child who’s interested in dance, this is a fantastic way to check out the work the studio produces. Even if you don’t and you would just like to see a Broadway-level show right here in town, you should come out. There’s no way you will be disappointed. The shows are appropriate for kids of course but they’re just as entertaining for adults. Just seeing such a grand scale production right in your own backyard is pretty cool. There are some dancers over from the Dominican Republic National Ballet (Juan Abreu will be performing in the role of Acteon; Engels Mendez will be performing as Phoebus) as well and they are fantastically talented.
They just finished up their very first drama production recently, called Batten Down The Hatchlings, and my son was a part of that for his first foray into working with the studio. The kids spent 2 semesters getting ready for it and no one missed a beat even though the only big rehearsal they had was right before the show. I mean HOURS before the show. Putting something like that together is proof of how talented the instructors and the kids are. Now as much as I hate to complain about my lovely son, he does really hate doing anything that requires him to not have a 3 monitor computer system and wireless access within 5 feet. While he did occasionally try the “my teeth hurt” bit before drama class, he came out telling me how fun the class had been and how much he liked it. If you can keep that kid’s interest, you’re good.
If summer won’t work out because you have an amazing trip to Paris planned or you just feel like doing nothing but swimming at the pool and reading trashy novels, there’s always fall! The Fall schedule should go up sometime in late July or August so check back at http://artisticmotiondance.com/.
And I can’t end this without mentioning 2 more things:
1. The Artistic Motion Dance Company. This requires a big commitment but it certainly seems worth it for the kids involved, as everyone I know loves being a part of it. It does require an audition but if you’re looking to join a company and you have dance experience, it’s top notch.
2. AMPA, their professional dance program. The Artistic Motion Preparatory Academy just wrapped up its first year. The curriculum is based on the Vaganova syllabus and takes a lot of time and committment, just like the company but again, it’s producing some amazing dancers. I’ve witnessed a few of the AMPA dancers that I know personally just totally skyrocket in one year.
So there you have it. It’s a great studio. The kids are amazing, the parents are fantastic, and the instructors are unparalled. Yes I am biased but who isn’t?
Interested in more?
You can read their press releases here:
The instructor bios are here: (prepare to be majorly impressed) and you can view their Facebook page which is chock full of photos that will make you want to dance even if you are, like me, a clumsy buffoon.
In addition let me leave you with a few photos from past shows, and remember to get a ticket and come see them this weekend!
(photo credit Jay Young)