Christian-based ballet school going the distance

JUNE 11, 2014
The Reflector A9
News
Christian-based ballet school going the distance
Tasha Irwin
lower school artistic director
have a ripe opportunity to affect
positive change in how young
women see themselves through
the time they spend with them.
“To be able to come alongside
of these girls and to be able to
use dance as a platform to be in
their lives is a huge honor and
something we do not take lightly,” Irwin said.
Under each instructor is a
teacher trainee and one of the
requirements of each of those
girls is that they are meeting
with an instructor outside of
Photos courtesy of Joy of Dance School of the Arts
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Photos courtesy of Joy of Dance School of the Arts
STUDENTS AT Christian-based Joy of Dance School of the Arts show their dedication to ballet.
school where they have an accountability to their faith, be
that through regular church attendance or a Bible study group.
Joy of Dance currently has 11
teacher trainees ranging from
13-16 years of age. A byproduct
of their practical faith is the two
different Bible studies that meet
at the Battle Ground Starbucks
on Monday and Thursday of
each week.
“So, we’re not only training
these girls in the excellence of
Contra in the Couve
event set for June 13
dance but walking through life
with them and real life, hard
things,” Irwin said.
The entire school, over 150
students, is currently working on a
year-end recital which will be held
June 26 and 27 at Prairie High
School beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is free and it’s open to the
public. Irwin views it as one more
way to reach out to the community and share with them what Joy
of Dance is about and the message
of hope and love that is found in
Jesus Christ.
Summer classes are coming up, as well. From camps for
youth to maintenance classes for
adults, July and August have a
lot to offer area residents at Joy
of Dance.
For summer or fall registration, contact Joy of Dance at
(360) 666-2443. For more information on classes and camps, go
to www.joyofdanceschool.com
or contact them via email @ [email protected]
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The Joy of Dance School
of the Arts has enjoyed great
growth and been a stable dance
studio in Battle Ground for many
years and Lower School Artistic
Director Tasha Irwin gives God
all the glory.
“Yeah, it’s been so exciting to
see all that God has done,’’ Irwin
said. “This is the second location
in Battle Ground that we’ve been
at. We moved due to growth and
we are currently looking for a
new location in Battle Ground
because we are maxed out with
students but it’s very hard to find
a spot (on Main Street).”
Joy of Dance opened in Vancouver in 1994 and moved to
Battle Ground in 2000. That
kind of longevity is a testament
of their dedication to the community and the uniqueness of a
Christian-based ballet school.
According to Irwin, Joy of
Dance is the only Christian ballet school in the Northwest. As a
result, students travel from as far
away as Beaverton though they
draw a large amount of their student body from North County.
That fact alone has been instrumental in keeping Joy of
Dance in Battle Ground despite
their growth and they are committed to retaining a presence on
Main Street this next move, if at
all possible.
All seven instructors are dedicated to the call of Christ which
does not make their background
any less impressive. A couple of
them trained exclusively at Joy
of Dance, while others came
straight from the Paradosi Ballet Company based in Seattle,
which holds the distinction as
the first professional Christian
ballet company in the Northwest. Still other instructors have
danced with Ballet Magnificat!,
the world’s premier Christian
ballet company and instructors
who hold degrees in dance round
out the faculty.
Students range in age from 3
years old to ladies in their 50s,
though last year Joy of Dance
was graced with a 70-year-old
woman taking ballet. As a ballet school, classes run from September-June. Throughout the
year, however, Pilates classes
are open to the public as well as
eight-week workshops focusing
on such diverse genres as hip
hop and contemporary. This fall,
they’re hoping to offer Jazz and
African, as well.
Irwin and the other instructors at Joy of Dance have experienced first-hand how difficult
the dance world can be for young
women. Body image is a strongly-debated issue in the genre of
ballet and Irwin believes they
CH522004
VIKI EIERDAM
for The Reflector
“To be able to come
alongside of these
girls and to be able
to use dance as a
platform to be in their
lives is a huge honor
and something we do
not take lightly.”
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