Dance Debut launches 31st season

Last year’s Music in Motion class is seen here performing at the May recital.

MABOU: A local dance school will celebrate the launch of its 31st year this fall with brand new learning opportunities for students.

“My passion is healing the body with movement,” said Michelle Greenwell, owner and principal instructor of Dance Debut Inc.

This season will kick off with a balancathon on September 29.

“The challenge is put out by the International Kinesiology College. The initiative is to raise awareness for the general population that there are kinesiology tools available and we can make a difference by doing really simple things with movement,” said Greenwell.

Organizers hope to break the world record for the most people performing a muscle balance at one time. The challenge will be led by over 1,000 practitioners worldwide and will create a continuous wave of participation across the globe. Participants will perform a short series of simple, accessible movements designed to target 14 different muscles.

“The goal is to show people that in two minutes you can completely change the way your body functions, and it’s not hard,” said Greenwell.

Greenwell will participate in the event via Facebook Live as she attends the Healthy Dancer Canada conference in Toronto. She has posted videos of the movements on Dance Debut’s website and will perform public demonstrations at several local beaches at the end of August. Further details will be available on Dance Debut’s website leading up to the event.

Students staged a production of the musical CATS at Dance Debut’s year-end recital last May.

Registration is also underway for Dance Debut’s 2018-19 season of classes. This year’s theme will be, “Dance, it’s a natural thing.”

“What’s exciting about this year is that I’m finally able to link up my knowledge of the body into the dance world,” said Greenwell.

Greenwell is completing a master’s degree in Energy Kinesiology from Akamai University. She has designed a new instructional program that draws on her research as well as her experience as a tai chi instructor.

“I’ve created the entire program around the five element theory, which is about how the five elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood all work together to give us energy,” said Greenwell. “I have researched very specific music based on the elements. I’ve created brand new choreography pieces, and I have exercises that get the flow of energy going through the body for optimum health.”

In June, Greenwell led a pilot group to test out the new material and was pleased with the response.

“I had three dance parents that joined the group because they wanted to try what we were doing, so the appeal of this material goes to a wide range of people,” she said.

This year, students eight years and older who participate in the full year dance program will have the option to apply for a Level 1 Touch for Health certificate. Greenwell says the training will allow students to perform muscle balances and other techniques to care for their bodies and improve focus as they take part in other activities.

Weekly classes will begin in September with a year-end recital in May. Instruction will be offered in Port Hawkesbury, Port Hood, Mabou, Inverness, and Belle Cote. All ages are welcome. Preschool-aged students begin by learning elements of ballet, step dance, and musical theatre while older students will focus on tap and jazz. Approximately 95 students enrolled last year.

Greenwell hopes to empower people to take wellness into their own hands.

“You can dance jazz and tap, but what can you really do with that movement?” said Greenwell. “How can you affect the body so that you’re able to release some of the stress in your life and take that sore knee, hip, or shoulder, and make the pain disappear?”

More information on the upcoming season can be found at dancedebut.com or on Facebook.