Danceworks aspired to get Millerton moving, but must wait for now
MILLERTON — Longtime dancer Gina White had long dreamed of opening a dance studio, and had been repeatedly approached about teaching in the village of Millerton. In February, White opened Danceworks with grand plans, hoping to “give the community something they don’t have right now,” she said at the time, referring to the fact that there are yoga and pilates studios and even The Music Cellar in town, but no dance studio.
“There’s yoga and there’s music and it seems like a trifecta to have dance as a part of it,” she said.
Sadly, the spread of the coronavirus happened just as Danceworks was taking off, leading White to temporarily close its doors on Thursday, March 12.
“Of course, it was devastating because we had just opened our doors a month ago and everyone was so excited about it,” White said. “For now, we’re just taking it day by day.”
White’s resume includes both national and international performances, from her work on the international tour of “Rugrats” to her brief appearance on “So You Think You Can Dance” and her feature work on the NBC’s reality TV show, “Fame,” with stage and screen legend Debbie Allen. White worked with the dance company Catapult Entertainment on and off for five years following the birth of her daughter, Evangeline.
When asked if she believes her daughter will follow in her dancing footsteps, White said, “She’s familiar with what it’s like — I’m positive she’ll follow in step.”
As far as opening a dance studio in Millerton, White said, “I feel like there is a desire for it here in town and I’m excited to offer what I can.”
White’s mission is to bring the community together through dance and focus on mind and body wellness, once the current health crisis ends and non-essential businesses can reopen.
Though she originally envisioned the former Saperstein’s building at 41 Main St. as the perfect space for her studio, White scouted a few more choice locations before deciding on space at 5916 North Elm Ave. (Route 22), which she renovated earlier this year. It was previously Cozzy’s pizzeria.
Danceworks will offer a range of traditional dance styles — including tap, ballet, jazz, hip hop, acrobatics, lyrical and contemporary — for children, teens and adults alike. White said she’s considered adding an all-boys hip hop class in the future.
Danceworks plans to charge a registration fee of $15 per student. Fees are planned at $55 for one class per month, $110 for two classes per month and $165 for three classes per month. Students will be able to pay for all of the classes on a monthly basis. Danceworks also plans to offer a special discount: if participants take three classes, they can attend one class free of charge.
Though she’s well aware that not everyone is bound to become a professional dancer, White said once she reopens, she plans to teach her students that anything is possible and that they can pursue their creative ambitions just as they can attend a four-year college and raise a family. As they pursue dance, she said she hopes they will learn lifelong skills such as leadership, discipline and taking care of their bodies.
White said, “I want people, regardless of their gender or background, to come to the space and safely create something, whether it’s rehearsing for a play or doing a tai chi class. It can be anything just so long as we’re coming together through dance.”
For more information on Danceworks and its future programs, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860-992-2799.