A Decade of Dance: Grass Valley nonprofit dance studio set to strut stuff | TheUnion.com

A Decade of Dance: Grass Valley nonprofit dance studio set to strut stuff

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to The Prospector


WHAT: Center Stage Dance Studio’s 10th Annual Showcase Celebration “A Decade of Dance”

WHEN: 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Nevada Union Don Baggett Theatre, 11761 Ridge Road, Grass Valley

HOW: Tickets $12 -$17 at centerstagegrassvalley.org

Poise, confidence, agility, strength and balance are just a few words describing the many benefits of dance.

They are part of the “why” that keeps board of directors and staff of The Center Stage Dance Studio working to keep their doors open to students of all ages.

Artistic Director Hollie McGovern says the nonprofit studio has been around for quite some time but ran under different leadership and has had different names. The most recent, Échappé, closed when the director became ill and that is when Wendy Fritzsinger stepped in as the studio director, adopting a new moniker “Center Stage Dance Studio” and a new vision for the studio.

Their mission states, in part, “Center Stage Dance Studio is committed to fostering the love of dance and the performing arts in our community. We feel that every person, regardless of economics, who is drawn to dance should enjoy the benefits that dance will bring to their life. Our goal is to introduce and train students in a variety of music theater and dance styles …

“The Center Stage program provides opportunities for all students to explore and enjoy the gift of performing arts in a positive, fun, nurturing, non-competitive atmosphere while maintaining a balance of discipline and structure.”

The nonprofit relies on class fees, community donations and fundraisers to keep their doors open, which they have done successfully for a decade. This Saturday, they are celebrating the milestone.

Center Stage Dance Studio’s 10th Annual Showcase Celebration, “A Decade of Dance” takes place this Saturday at the Nevada Union Don Baggett Theatre this Saturday with performances at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

McGovern said the showcase gives students a chance to show off their hard work in a variety of styles and genre. She teaches students ages 3 to over age 60.

“We are pulling things from the entire decade,” McGovern said. “Our annual showcase features projects the students have been working on for the entire year. This year we have a birthday theme.”

Anyone who thinks they might want to learn to dance can drop into a class and try it. There is no audition process. Students simply register and sign-up.

While McGovern’s background and focus are primarily in ballet, classes are also offered in tap, fusion, contemporary/jazz, hip hop, and tumbling/hoop dancing which she says is “very popular.” Special classes, including a “Mommy and Me” for ages 18-36 months, is also offered.

McGovern says The Center Stage Dance Studio helps prepare students for formal education at higher levels of learning.

“What I like about our program is we can definitely prepare kids for the future,” she said. “A big step is going into Nevada Union High School’s dance program. They are totally prepared for that. In fact, one of our past students who is a senior this year just won a scholarship, the Yolana Holt Excellence in Dance award and she grew up in this studio.”

McGovern added the student probably played every role in the Nutcracker, from a mouse or gumdrop to Clara.

“It’s touching to see that,” she said. “We give them the tools so they can go on and dance in college and beyond. So, we offer a good foundation to dance.”

As a dance instructor McGovern says the rewards include seeing the growth from year to year and the passion of students.

“Ballet and dance are definitely taught in the tradition of one person to another,” she said. “You can’t really get it off the internet, but here you have to have that interaction and be able to manipulate the body how it needs to be because there is such a specific way to do things so you don’t get injured and can have a long career doing it. If you are taught properly, you can do it forever.”

Summer classes begin June 24 and run throughout the summer including dance camp in mid-July. Dancers will also be performing at the Nevada County Fair on Aug. 7. But Center Stage is probably best known for the annual production of The Nutcracker. McGovern said auditions are open to the public beginning in August.

When asked why people should dance, McGovern answered in a word, “joy.” “Complete joy,“ she said.

“It’s also a way to be aerobic, get your heart rate up, so it’s healthy,” McGovern said. “It is an art form but it’s an art form where you are the piece of art, so you get to express yourself with your soul as well. It almost becomes, for a lack of a better word, a religion, or some people. It’s like they need it to get through the day.”

McGovern says Saturday’s celebration will be a lot of fun but is the culmination of a lot of work.

“It’s amazing to see who much time it takes to look effortless.”

For more information, stop by the studio on Joerschke Drive in Grass Valley or go to the website, http://www.centerstagegrassvalley.org.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com.

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