he artists at Dynamic Motion Dance Academy want to close out 2020—their 20th anniversary year—with two adjectives that have been in short supply of late: Merry and Bright.
To accomplish this, they are opening their doors to all young people ages 4 and older, regardless of experience, to perform in a dance showcase at 3 p.m. Saturday, December 19, to bring joy to the community.
It is a no-cut show, meaning any child who registers by December 3 and pays the $100 fee will be guaranteed a part in the recital.
Rehearsals for the showcase will run from December 4 to December 18.
The recital, according to studio owner Tiffany Fox, will be built around the talents and abilities of everyone who shows up.
“We might get some kids with no background,” Fox said.
“Whoever we get, that’s fantastic. We will work with them and choreograph around them. This isn’t going to be about who has the highest leg and the biggest pirouettes. It’s more about building community and providing a safe and creative space to spread the spirit of the holidays.”
The idea for the show was the brainchild of two studio staff members—Lyndsie Clymer and Tami Jewell. They came to Fox and said that while they knew she was super busy trying to keep the studio afloat during these days of pandemic, completing her master’s thesis and being a single mom to two kids, they wanted to do a Christmas show.
“I was like, ‘OK, are you going to do all the choreography?’” Fox said. “Lyndsie said yes and I said, ‘Let’s do this!’”
Clymer has been a part of Fox’s studios since she was 3 years old—she and her twin brother both learned dance from Fox.
“She is amazing,” Fox said of Clymer. “I can rely on her for anything. That’s why when she came to me and said this will be a great idea, I said let’s do this. With her at the helm doing choreography, it’s going to be amazing. She’s very special.”
She’s hoping that new children will participate in the showcase, Clymer said, but veterans are invited as well.
“Dance is a fun way to create and express love and happiness,” Clymer said. “We thought it was the perfect timing to come together for the holidays and spread love and cheer. We really wanted to bring the kids together for the holiday.”
With that goal in mind, Clymer wants to create an upbeat, exciting and joyful showcase with an eclectic collection of songs and dances. She turned to some of the studio’s younger students for inspiration. She asked them for their holiday traditions so she could incorporate them into the choreography. The responses she got ranged from the Elf on a Shelf to driving to Flagstaff to play in the snow.
“The songs range from classical hits to new releases,” Clymer said. “There’s a little something for all ages. We’re doing a Frosty the Snowman dance (for the student who likes to play in the snow) and incorporating holiday traditions into the shows and the decorations.”
As she puts the showcase together, Clymer said she is keeping the choreography fun and simple so that people of all talent levels can participate.
“We want everyone to know that it doesn’t matter if you have a small amount of experience or tons of experience—we want everyone to just have fun and to give people the confidence to either start performing if they haven’t ever done it or keep performing.”
Each participant will receive two tickets for guests. Audience numbers will be limited because of COVID-19 precautions. Clymer said if many people sign up, they’ll hold two showcases to accommodate the audiences.
They’re also breaking the students into three age groups. All will perform at the same show, but they’ll have spaced-out rehearsals. As of early November, 15 students signed up and Clymer was hoping they would have 30 to 40 kids.
The groups will range from 4 to 7 years old, 8 to 12 and then 13 to 18. In addition to the children, some parents will dance with their kids.
“We need positivity right now,” Fox said. “Kids and adults—everybody needs some kind of outlet. I hope we do get some kids who have never danced before or who haven’t come to the studio to see what that is about and how therapeutic dance can be. It’s super therapeutic for the body, mind and soul.”
Fox explains that dance can help students cope with the changes in their life due to the pandemic. School has fundamentally changed, and students have to distance and wear masks with limited social interaction during the day. She said kids need a sense of normalcy and a chance to get out from behind the screens that dominate their school life.
“Kids need movement and art right now and the creative outlets to let go of stress and work on themselves because they are sitting in front of a screen all day with school,” Fox said. “Kids come in and they’re so wild because school is weird with wearing masks all day and sitting in spaces not next to each other and not having normal interaction. With dance, they can move and express themselves. It’s super important right now. It’s what kids need.”
Audiences will be required to wear masks, but Fox is leaving it up to the individual dancers and their parents whether the students will wear masks.
“Some dancers have masks; some do not,” Fox said. “Some parents are not comfortable with them coming without and that’s fine, but for kids that are dancing for four or five hours straight, I do not require masks. It’s very hard for them to breathe. We’re around the same kids every week. All the teachers and front desk are wearing masks.”
Clymer is also working a possible livestream of the showcase so those who don’t feel comfortable coming to the studio can still watch it from a safe distance.
In what was supposed to be a celebratory 20th anniversary season for Dynamic Motion Dance Academy, the staff had to scale back on most of their plans because of the pandemic. For a time, all their classes were held virtually. Because of this, the studio wants this showcase to be a time for bringing kids back together in a healthy way.
“I’m honestly just excited to work with the kids,” Clymer said. “To me, making memories is the coolest thing. I want to make memories with these kids and end 2020 with positivity—on a good note.”