Dancing is En Pointe in lifelong learning
By Deanna R. Adams
The latest craze these days are Tik Tok dance videos. But if you’d like your child to take the art form a bit more seriously, it’s best to have professional instruction, for a number of reasons.
“We want our students to apply the lessons learned in dance, such as discipline, perseverance, creative thinking, and the sense of physical well-being, and incorporate them into the rest of their lives,” says Gail Friedberg, owner of En Pointe Danse studio in Chagrin Falls. “Beyond the art of dance, this thriving environment with other children helps give them a sense of community.”
That sense of community goes beyond age. Friedberg, who has had the dance studio since 1999, emphasizes that you can be at any stage in life to start dance because of all the various disciplines she teaches, which include creative movement, ballet, tap and modern dance. She adds that many former students later bring their children and grandchildren to the school. “It’s really about the joy of dancing, and the satisfaction that you’re doing something you enjoy and getting better at it, then passing down that joy to future generations.”
At En Pointe Danse, students also get experience performing on stage. They have always had an annual spring concert for dancers, ages 6 and up, who perform a full-length ballet, and a smaller recital for dancers 3–5 years old. Of course, like everything else this past year, COVID-19 has stepped in and made things more challenging for her business. “I must admit, our attendance has gone down, and our annual spring concert will be a bit smaller this year, but the moms have all been great in helping me find a place where the students can still conduct a live performance, which is important after all their hard work.”
Friedberg also has help from fellow dance instructor, Jean Brady, graduate of the Academy of the Washington School of Ballet in Washington, DC., who teaches ballet and assists in the dance programs. They both recommend that children begin with their creative movement class, targeted for 3- and 4-year-olds, before moving on to ballet fundamentals, which can begin at age 7. Those interested in tap classes can be 5 to 55, or older.
“Tap is a lot of fun, and we enjoy having adults come here as well,” she says. “We see many adults who’ve always wanted to dance and never had the chance, as well as those who were dancers as children and want to get back into it.” Adults can register for beginning, intermediate, or advanced adult classes. Older students learn basic steps and rhythms, along with aerobic work while mastering the tap techniques. “It’s very good exercise, too,” the studio owner notes. “There are a lot of stretches and fluid movement.”
She adds that while not all students become professional dancers, the quality traits of discipline, concentration, coordination, and improved self-confidence, learned through creative dance can help prepare one for other careers, and prove useful throughout a lifetime. Enrollment for summer classes both in-person and virtual, is open now.
En Pointe is located at 516 East Washington Street in Chagrin Falls. For more information, call (440) 247-5747, or visit them online at www.enpointedanse.com.