Movement is a form of storytelling for many types of artists. Rapid City’s Barefoot Dance Studio offers a variety of classes that teach students how to use their bodies to express themselves.
A group of 7 women work on choreography during a modern dance class at the Seed Theatre.
Andrea Schaefer is the instructor and owner of the building.
Schaefer: “I’m in my 10and year working here and I was a dance teacher for a long time.
Lockett: “What kind of different dance classes do you teach?”
Schaefer: “We have ballet, tap, jazz hip-hop and musical theater only in our dance program. And then on top of that, we have music lessons, acting lessons, aerial lessons, kung fu lessons, tai chi lessons, kick boxing lessons. And it goes on and on and on.”
Lockett: “How many teachers do you have?”
Schaefer: “We have 5 teachers and dance teachers in all these other areas who come to give their own lessons.”
Lockett: “Can you explain your dance philosophy?”
Schaefer: “Of course. I mean, for us, it’s not just about teaching dance, but we try to have a community aspect within this studio. And give the kids something beyond the one hour lesson, but something they can really grow and build on, and then expand what they’ve learned beyond the milestones, but more important things. Team work. Trust. I know people often say that when working with children, but it really develops over time.
Lockett: “Why are the arts of movement important?”
Schaefer: “I think movement is one of the most honest and true ways to communicate and for a good dancer to stay honest and authentic on stage. And you can’t lie, bodies don’t lie. So if you’re in pain, you can see it on stage. If you forget your dance, you can see it.
In the theater room, a group of children aged 6 to 9 receive instruction before their theater lesson.
Lukas Ptacek teaches acting classes for the Black Hills Playhouse at Barefoot Dance Studio.
Ptacek: “This is our 12and school week and really wanted to get the kids excited again. And so I thought, ‘Well, what do kids like to talk about?’ They’ve been talking about Trolls since we started. So we use some of the music to have fun dancing and just looking at the themes and how it works in a bigger sense to play. Things like emotions – how do we show those emotions. Things like happiness and sadness.
Lockett: “Can you tell me how you show that?”
Ptacek: “So when you’re a character on stage, you have to show that character through your body. If you’re a mermaid on stage and you have a tail and can’t move, you might have some kind of contraption that keeps you upright. Well, that’s only part. You are not going to be held back and it will move you all around. You have to move. How are you doing that? How do you move a tail when humans of course don’t have tails? Movement therefore plays many different roles.
Outside, an instructor moves boxes of equipment around the theater.
Naomi Even-Aberle is the building’s new teacher.
Even-Aberle: “I am the founder and co-owner of Full Circle Martial Arts in Academy and we offer programs in Korean martial arts. And we build character development into their day. So we work on learning things like mutual respect, physical balance, comprehension and spatial understanding. But really, we use movement and martial arts movement to reach kids and help them develop a better version of themselves.
Lockett: “Can you tell me a bit about why you decided to consolidate into one building?”
Even-Aberle: “I’ve always dreamed of having a creative complex where different performers from different genres can come together and support each other and create empathy and understanding of diversity in motion. And so when Andrea kind of mentioned in passing that she wanted to use the space, I kind of put my hand up and I was like ‘choose us; we want a new creative gym space. ‘”
Even-Aberle says the space will help support movement education for students.