Monday, July 29, 2013
Plano dance studio turns lessons into performance art
Innovative strategies teach dance and theater by prioritizing students' imaginations over rigid lesson plans.
PLANO Upon walking into Jackson's Dance & Theatre Co. in Plano, one might get the feeling a play is taking place rather than a class. Owner Jackson Foltyn said he wants his patrons to see an event, not a lesson.
"We try to [stay] innovative with different strategies to help people understand who we are and what we are," Foltyn said. "We have tools. The individual, young or old, has the imagination. That's why we're here and coincidentally, we also have the dance space."
Currently, Foltyn is working on constructing a stage in the facility's largest studio for the theater's upcoming production of "Elvis August," which will take place August 16 through September 1. The musical, consisting of dancers and actors of all ages, will showcase virtually everything the theater company has to offer its clients.
Opening night will also be complete with wine tasting, compliments of Sip & Savor in Plano. In addition, the musical will also be accompanied by live music -- an element Foltyn said exemplifies how his blend of theater and dance is different from other dance studios.
An Elvis tribute artist and New York native, Foltyn moved to Texas 15 years ago with his love for dance. His background performing in film and onstage, as well as his experience directing and producing live performances, gave him an opportunity to help others grow in virtually all genres of performance art and self expression.
With no recital fees and what many would call unorthodox class and performance schedules, Folytn said parents would appreciate the fact that his clients do not spend months practicing one routine. Rather, students can spend a minimum of four weeks preparing for a show, which allows them to move on to learning more skills and techniques.
"You don't necessarily have to have your children spend so much time choreographing a number for a show they won't even do for another four months," Foltyn said. "These are little things I've noticed in the dance business that have always bothered me."
The studio offers a range of classes, including tap, salsa, Zumba-like dance, hip-hop, ballet, toddler time, stretch and tone, clogging, jazz, and musical theatre. Whether it's adults who want to do cardio classes or their children who need to express themselves, dance instructor Tish Morris said there is something for everyone.
"Melding the children and the adults together and building a theater for them, we're very hopeful," she said. "It's the best of both worlds and we're trying to keep no services untapped."
Prosper resident Judy Barnes has been bringing her daughter Laura, 9, to Jackson's studio for the past several weeks and it didn't take her long to realize the instructors are exactly what Laura needs to perfect her tap dancing, a talent she began developing when she was 2 years old.
"We've had a lot of tap dance teachers and have been to a lot of dance studios. They just embrace the love of dance and the teaching style is unbelievable," she said. "They teach them new techniques, they perform ... and the pace is a lot faster but they pick it up a lot faster. It keeps their attention and, no pun intended, keeps them on their toes."
Jackson's Dance & Studio Co. is located at 6205 Coit Road in Plano. Fall classes begin August 3, and the studio is currently taking auditions for "Elvis August." For information, call 972-964-5225 or visit jacksonsdanceandtheatreco.net.
Pegasus News Content partner - Star Local News
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