Whittier Community Center home to new dance company

A new kind of dance company is putting down roots at the Whittier Community Center in Logan. FreeStyle Dance Company, cofounded by Justin Bayles and Erica Colvin, starts classes Tuesday, June 8. Classes are $8 per session, and can be bought on a per session basis or in a package. The company will include dance and Zumba classes, and a dance club to complement dances learned in class. “The club is like a test,” Bayles said. Students will learn the dance moves in classes and then get to show off what they learned during the company’s club nights. Admission to the club is $4 per person. Colvin said it will be the only salsa club within a 2-hour radius in any direction. FreeStyle Dance Company has a dress code, which Bayles says is “not just Mormon thing,” but a way for dancers to respect “themselves, other classmates and the instructor.” The dress code includes requirements such as no short shorts or tank tops. A full list of requirements can be found at the company’s website, www.freestyledancecompany.com. The company aims at combining all different areas of the dance world into one school. The name FreeStyle has significance to the style of the company. Colvin said “free” refers to the personality side of dance, while “style” refers to technique. Both aspects will be present in instruction received from the company. In the future, Bayles said he hopes the company will be a way for high school freshmen to learn to dance and hopefully receive dance scholarships by the time they graduate. Bayles said he wants to reach the Latin community with the company. Bayles, who speaks Spanish fluently, said some classes will be taught in Spanish in order to tailor to the Latin community. Many in the Latin community do not feel like they’re part of the Cache community, Bayles said, and the dance classes will be a way for them to feel more connected. Colvin said each class will be limited in size to 15-20 people. As more interest is gained, more classes will be added to acommodate them, she said. Cache Valley is the perfect place to start a dance company, Colvin said, because instructors are close enough to big cities that they can learn new dance styles and keep with trends, but far enough away that they can carve their own niche as a dance company. Colvin said once the company grows in Logan, they hope to expand it beyond the valley. The cofounders also have plans to create a nonprofit, community aspect of the dance company in the future. There is more to dancing than the moves, Bayles said. Dancing is a way of learning, he said, and a way of learning how to cope with learning fears in other areas of study. “There is so much talent that is wasted because there are teachers that don’t know how to teach them,” Bayles said. Currently there are two instructors for the FreeStyle Dance Company: Colvin and Misty Taylor. Colvin has a long history of dance experience, including teaching for Arthur Murray International, based in California. She teaches ballroom and salsa classes and has ten years dancing experience. Taylor has been dancing for seven years and competed nationally. She teaches mainly Zumba and hip hop. Bayles said each instructor goes through a background check before joining the company. As the company grows, Colvin said they will add more classes and different kinds of dance. One possibility is capoeira, a Brazilian art form combining martial arts, music and dance. FreeStyle Dance Company wants to stay in tune with the wants of its dancers, Colvin said. Some have expressed a want for a 40 and better class for older women, Colvin said. These women have asked that the room have no mirrors so they can just focus on dancing, and that’s how Colvin said the class will be run. Colvin said they hope to continue to cater to the needs of the dancers and follow modern dance trends to bring a unique and personalized dance experience to Cache Valley. The FreeStyle Dance Company also features a youth program, which teaches ballroom basics and beginning hip hop. Colvin said they hope to have youth jazz and ballet classes by November as registration for youth programs increase. The youngest a dancer can get started is age 8. Single Salsa classes start Tuesday, June 8. The class is one night a week and runs for 6 weeks. Those who bring a guest will get a $2 discount. FreeStyle Dance Company also involves a couples program, for any coulples from newlyweds to 95-year-olds. The club will feature a Country Couples night. Bayles said there are many newlyweds in Logan, and many of those couples would go western swing dancing before they were married. Country Couples is a night where any couple can go dancing for $6, and there will only be couples in the club. Before each Country Couples dance and salsa night, a half hour dance lesson will be taught. The company is now teaching Zumba, a mix between Latin dancing and an exercise program. “Zumba is like the line dancing of salsa,” Bayles said. When line dancing, one does not need a dance partner, he said. Zumba has salsa-based moves, but no dance partner is needed. Registration and more information about classes and the FreeStyle Dance Company can be found online at www.freestyledancecompany.com. – rachel@cvdaily.com

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