Dancers receive intense training

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 29, 2005

The Luverne Dance Center recently held its 2005 Summer Intensive Workshop, a workshop, said Owner Stephanie Jones, designed with the 'serious' dancer in mind.

Guest faculty members included Tiffany Wright-Swan, ballet instructor; Ashley Soloman, former Radio City Rockette; jazz instructor Reid Seiving; hip-hop instructor Marcus Bonam; Holley Richardson, owner/director of Dance Connection in Chipley, Fla., and Tonya Speed, owner of Tonya Speed's Dance Connection in Montgomery.

"We hold this every year and the students that usually come are the ones who are serious about becoming outstanding dancers," said Jones. "They're not just interested in the recreational aspects of it."

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Jones said the students enrolled in the workshop were given a short placement class the first day, allowing instructors to view their level of proficiency. Students were then placed in the appropriate level - beginning-intermediate, intermediate, or advanced.

"Each class was tailored to the students' ability so they would be challenged," said Jones. "But if a dancer demonstrated during the first part of the week that they needed to be in a different level, then they were moved by their teachers."

Jones said she hosts the workshop as a way for local students to be exposed to different techniques and teaching. Dance students from Troy as well as Montgomery attended the workshop. The workshop was an all-day affair, which each dancer participating in three classes per day.

Dance styles taught included ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop.

Jones said classes were kept small to provide a chance for individual instruction.

That's good or bad, depending on how you look at it.

Jones' daughter, Sadie, said Wright-Swan, the ballet instructor, was particularly demanding on her students.

"She was tough," said Sadie. "But ballet's always tough."