By Rochelle Karina
Back in the early 1990s, Colleen Parker was teaching private dance classes to classical ballet dancers who wanted to broaden their repertoire. It wasnt long before she realized there was a need. Most dance studios focused on one particular genre of dance and the teachers own training was in that genre. Parker saw a need to provide a local studio offering expert training in all dance styles, and knew she could not provide it all herself. Though she was a talented dancer and teacher, she wanted to offer quality dance education by bringing together a staff of experts. Dance Explosion Performing Arts opened its doors in 1992, and Parker has never looked back.
I believe what sets us apart is having teachers for every genre of dance, not one teacher who does every type, explained Parker. Each teacher has a specialty. Parkers specialty is jazz, and she is an award-winning teacher and choreographer and former instructor at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. She also heads the Dance Explosion Competition Team, which has won the title of National Dance Champions at every major dance competition in America. Her students can be seen around Severna Park at various local events.
We performed in the Severna Park Fourth of July Parade, Parker said, and at the Giant Foods Johns Hopkins Cancer fund raiser. She loves getting her dancers out in the community. I want to continue more into performances, rather than just annual recitals. Anything we can do in the area, we are always willing to perform and do whatever we can to help out. Its been terrific getting involved with the Chamber of Commerce. Weve met great people, had the opportunity to do the parade, and meet other business owners.
Dance Explosion offers classes in ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, modern, tap, hip-hop, and ballroom. The staff of regular instructors is augmented by guest teachers who bring their own expertise. Class levels range from the Mommy and Me classes for toddlers through adult hip-hop classes.
Over the years, Dance Explosion has seen former students go on to successful careers as processional dancers. Michele Wiles and Melissa Hough both moved on to become celebrated ballerinas with major American ballet companies. Melinda Darrell joined the renowned Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, and others have performed in music videos, television commercials and film, or gone on to be teachers and adjudicators for regional and national competitions. They are the only Maryland studio to be named as Dance Spirit Magazines Top 50 Studios on the East Coast, and one of the 100 top studios in the country.
But its not all about competition and accolades. Parker believes its all about the students who come through her doors.
Children should dance, she says. They should become involved in physical activity. Dance helps teach coordination and improve posture. It teaches discipline and builds self-confidence.
To find out more about Dance Explosion Performing Arts, check out their website at www.danceexplosionperformingarts.com.