Friday, January 19, 2007

Days 11-12: Ada, MI

Valery has come to the conclusion that studios with the name "academy" are likely to offer a high level of instruction. The Ada Dance Academy is one of our new favorites, and it was worth every bit of the race from South Bend to Ada, MI to be able to work with these classes.

The class at Bethel College ended at about 5PM with a class in Ada, Michigan, about a two hour drive away, beginning at 7:30. We dashed from the theater as soon as it was feasible and drove non-stop in a light snow with fingers tightly around the wheel. So it was another class that got off to a bit of a winded start.

That was soon forgotten as Valery began working with the students. He was impressed by their level. When he works with well-trained students he really comes alive. He presented some of his challenging combinations. We were especially pleased to have two talented young men in the class. Kudos to the teaching staff at Ada Dance Academy. We may return to Ada for a week-long intensive in summer. We'll let you know if this pans out.

One thing that Valery said during class struck a chord with the academy's director, Marlene Kennoway, so I will share it here. "On stage," he says, "the first thing I see is your eyes and your face. Next I see your arms and last your legs." It is yet another way of saying that dance is about expressing emotion. The technique is important, but only to serve this greater purpose.

We would also like to thank Marlene for her wonderful hospitality. After our evening class at the studio we would be teaching an early morning class for adults, so we were invited to stay at the Kennoway's lovely home. After the first class we had a wonderful dinner at a restaurant that stayed open for us. It had live music, and the band stayed until we had finished our meal. So bouquets and thanks to the Kennoways, the band and everyone we met in Ada.