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The Dance Must Go On

A dance troupe without a home puts on a performance.

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Nancie Woods

<b>CENTER DANCE COMPANY,</b> a troupe that operates out of Arlington, is holding its annual spring performance under precarious circumstances this year.

<p>In February, the group’s lease on its Wilson Boulevard headquarters ended and they were forced to leave without having secured a new location. “We’ve been struggling to get going again,” Center Dance’s administrative director Jan Bull said. “It’s just so painful.”

<p>But for Center Dance, the show must go on. Their dancers are still rehearsing at various places around the County and the group’s directors are hard at work securing a new location.

<p>Nancie Woods, Center Dance Company’s artistic director discussed the recent struggles and what to expect from its upcoming performance.

<p><b>What’s going to be happening at this performance?</b>

<p>We are going to be doing a piece we’ve never done before. It’s a very traditional classical piece. Tutus, tiaras, that whole thing. It’s the Swan Lake portion.

<p><b>I heard that was very rarely performed.</b>

<p>Right. It’s not included in many companies’ performances anymore because the full-length versions can get very lengthy. Some of the things they’ve taken out over the years. But it’s a nice little section for six ballerina-types. We’ve adapted it to stand on its own.

<p><b>How is this performance going to be different than some of our other performances?</b>

<p>What I wanted to do is to try to reach out to a broader dance community but also at the same time illustrate part of our history. We’ve been performing in Arlington for close to twenty years now. So we’re bringing back the choreography that was one of the original productions. Our founding director has come back in and is conducting rehearsals. It’s kind of an exciting time as we branch forward and having grown and developed to look back and acknowledge what this organization has done.

<p><b>I heard you had to leave your previous building and now you’re in between locations. Is that true?</b>

<p>Yes that’s true. We did have to leave our former location on Wilson Boulevard in February of this year. At that time we had only just located the building that we are moving into which is over on Carlin Springs Road just outside of the Arlington County line. We like to say that if you fall over you’re still in Arlington. It’s very accessible to our current patrons. Also it will be close to Alexandria and Fairfax County. We’re in the building now but we’re not open for classes. We’re still in the middle of construction. Basically, we’ve been without a home since the beginning of February.

<p><b>How has that affected your business?</b>

<p>It’s been very challenging. We have been very fortunate in that we can use the County-run facilities in Arlington. There’s a wonderful studio in Kenmore Middle School that we’ve been holding our ballet classes in and also our rehearsals for the show. That’s been a big help for us. Also there’s a studio at Gunston Middle School. So we’ve been scattered. It’s been very challenging and it’s not quite over yet.

<p><b>And you are planning on moving into the new studio later this year?</b>

<p>Yes. We are hoping to be open sometime this summer. We’re still waiting for final permits… We’re really excited about our new place. It’s going to be an amazing facility. We can’t wait to open our doors and have the dancers come in.

<p><b>What’s one of the things that Center Dance does really well that other dance companies in the area don’t do?</b>

<p>We are one of the few schools in the area that incorporates the Royal Academy of Dance into our training curriculum for students beginning age seven and up. It’s a training syllabus that was formulated in England. That’s one of the unique features of our school.

<p>Also, it is my fervent philosophy that we are treating our dancers with mutual respect. The dance world is a hugely difficult world. It can be brutal mentally and physically. We do train our dancers with the tools they need to get into the professional arena. However, we try to do that in a caring and nurturing atmosphere while building their self-esteem. We feel that dance can enrich a child’s life.