At the age of 3, RaChelle Fears-Neal’s mother put her toddler in dance lessons so her daughter wouldn’t inherit her two left feet.
“My dad teased her telling her she couldn’t carry a flap and a bucket,” Fears-Neal said. “My dad had a great pace.
Fears-Neal got hold of his father. On any day of his childhood, Fears-Neal could be found in the dance studio until 9 p.m.
“I just loved it. I turned to him, ”Fears-Neal said. “That’s all I did.”
Today, Fears-Neal owns the Faith in Motion dance studio in downtown Marion.
Faith in Motion began in 1999 as a dance ministry at Allen Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church, the home church of Fears-Neal.
“I thought that would be all it would be for a while, but the doors kept opening to have a full-fledged studio,” Fears-Neal said. “It is there that God gave me the name of Faith in movement, according to Hebrews 11: 1:” Now, faith is the substance of things that one hopes for and the proof of things that one does not see. not. “
Fears-Neal said she always wanted to own a dance studio but had no idea it would be faith-based.
“I was saved in 2000. It was only a crucial point for me when I had to decide which master I would serve,” said Fears-Neal. “It was then that I stopped doing secular dance and began to use Christian music full time.”
Faith in Motion features tap dancing, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, pointe, modern and a genre they call “divine” or a dance of praise that you would see in churches.
While Fears-Neal acknowledged that there are four other dance studios within walking distance, she said she likes to think Faith in Motion is not in competition with the other studios as they are the only studio. denominational.
“Life is too short to have this tough competition. I want to be the best I can be at what I do, and if I have to stomp on someone to make it happen, it’s not worth it for me, ”said Fears-Neals. “If it’s important to use your body and your dance for worship, then we are the studio for you. “
Faith in Motion dancers don’t currently compete in dance competitions, but Fears-Neal hopes to start participating soon. The studio hosts an annual dance recital and performs at many churches and events such as the NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet.
As a young dancer, Fears-Neal performed at NAACP banquets because her parents were heavily involved in the organization. She also danced at funerals and weddings, she said.
“In our culture, we dance for everything, which is the same for my family. We turn everything into a party, ”said Fears-Neal. “For me, it’s just a big part of my life.”
When Fears-Neal is having a bad day, when she feels stressed, or when her husband or children annoy her, she says she is dancing.
“I can get into the crazy dance or the pain, and when I hit that floor and start moving, it’s like everything else in the world is stopping,” Fears-Neal said. “Even when I’m not able to express what I’m feeling, I’ve always been able to bring it out, to dance it.”
Pointe is Fears-Neal’s love, she said, but now that she’s had knee surgery, she can’t dance on pointe.
“… But I can teach the tip,” Fears-Neal said. “… So that always fills my heart.” “
Fears-Neal has often said that it is important for people to see a black woman own a studio and a dance teacher.
“Even growing up, I didn’t see a lot of black people in leadership roles,” Fears-Neal said. “When you see yourself imitated in something, reflected in something, it gives you power. It gives you a sense of pride. That gives you an idea of, well, if they can do it, I can do it.
Fears-Neal said his son didn’t have a black teacher until he was in fifth grade.
“It was totally life changing to see someone other than his mom who was in that position,” Fears-Neal said. “It makes a big difference, and I don’t take it lightly.”