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Great Falls Creative Movement open house inspires interest in dance

  • Lily French, 9, center, dances with the 6-12 year-old group during an open house free dance class at Great Falls Creative Movement studio on Saturday, in Turners Falls. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Juna Gradick, 9, and Oscar Gradick, 6, stretch out during an open house free dance class at Great Falls Creative Movement studio on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Turners Falls. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Lily French, 9, leaps over a block during an open house free dance class at Great Falls Creative Movement studio on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Turners Falls. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Juna Gradick, 9, spins during an open house free dance class at Great Falls Creative Movement studio on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Turners Falls. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Great Falls Creative Movement studio on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Turners Falls. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Eliza Van Driesche, 8, center, dances with Lily French, 9, left, and Juna Gradick, 9, during a free dance class at an open house for Great Falls Creative Movement studio on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Turners Falls. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Dance educator Anna Hendricks, right, leads a free dance class for 6-12 year-olds during an open house at Great Falls Creative Movement studio on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Turners Falls. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Juna Gradick, 9, twists and spins during an open house free dance class at Great Falls Creative Movement studio on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Turners Falls. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Dance educator Anna Hendricks, right, leads a free dance class during an open house at Great Falls Creative Movement studio on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Turners Falls. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Lily French, 9, is illuminated by a streak of sunlight during an open house free dance class at Great Falls Creative Movement studio on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Turners Falls. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Dance educator Anna Hendricks, top, leads a free dance class during an open house at Great Falls Creative Movement studio on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Turners Falls. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Dance educator Anna Hendricks, right, leads a free dance class during an open house at Great Falls Creative Movement studio on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Turners Falls. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Juna Gradick, 9, and her brother Oscar Gradick, 6, mimic each other's dance movements during an open house free dance class at Great Falls Creative Movement studio on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Turners Falls. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Great Falls Creative Movement studio at the Brick House building on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Turners Falls. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Dance educator Anna hendricks, left, moves Juna Gradick, 9, into a living sculpture during an open house free dance class at Great Falls Creative Movement studio on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Turners Falls. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE



Recorder Staff
Saturday, January 06, 2018

TURNERS FALLS — Giggles and smiles erupted from a group of energetic children who divided into pairs to make their partners into living, breathing sculptures.

At the instruction of dance teacher Anna Hendricks, the boys and girls gently bent their partners’ arms and legs into quirky positions, later mimicking the “sculptures” they created with glee.

This human sculpting was one of many exercises children eagerly participated in during the Great Falls Creative Movement’s open house Saturday.

According to Hendricks, who founded the business eight years ago, Saturday was her third open house. Routine open houses, she said, are a great way for children to try out the services she offers in The Movement Studio upstairs at the Brick House.

Hendricks offers informal dance classes to children ages 3 to 12, and will be kicking off a new Creative Dance for Adults class in February. She said her business is twofold; part of her time is spent teaching classes in-studio, and on other occasions, she teaches classes at schools and through community programs.

To give the youngsters a taste of what her classes are like, Hendricks led them in walking, sliding, galloping, prancing, leaping, tiptoeing, gliding, spinning and swinging, as well as in a variety of breathing exercises. Some of the exercises were done in pairs, such as when the children teamed up to drive their partners like cars both forward and backward, with some near collisions.

As a group, the children also made up their own dance, with each incorporating a movement that they named after themselves.

“People have an idea of what dance is, that it’s something you need a lot of training to do,” said Hendricks, of Gill. “I think dancing is something every human being does.”

Young children, she said, don’t feel inhibited in their movement, making them eager pupils as well as great teachers. In fact, Hendricks feels she often serves more as a facilitator, helping the children explore their natural need to move.

“For me, dancing with kids opens up what’s acceptable to do with your body,” she said. “They’re just really excellent dance teachers.”

Hendricks said she hopes both her classes and open houses “get people to explore movements they can do, but don’t ordinarily do” and bestow people with opportunities to dance anywhere in their lives. Hopefully, she added, the children and their parents, who frequently join in, will continue dancing at home as well as at The Movement Studio.

Hendricks offers open houses both in fall and winter, with winter ones being particularly well attended, giving children and parents the chance to do something fun and full of movement indoors.

“It’s grown every year in little bits,” Hendricks said of her business. “This morning there were so many kids it was overwhelming!”

The open houses are divided into two classes: one for 3- to 6-year-olds and another for 6- to 12-year-olds. Three and 4-year-olds, she said, frequently fill her classes.

Though many of the children in her afternoon session had taken classes with Great Falls Creative Movement before and wanted to take advantage of the free class, Eliza Van Driesche, 8, her little sister Susannah Van Driesche, and her mother Cecelia Van Driesche, of Conway, were visiting The Movement Studio for the first time.

Eliza said she had taken a dance class before, but found Great Falls Creative Movement to be very different, in an enjoyable way.

“At first I was a little nervous since I didn’t really know anyone,” she said. “But I started loving it immediately.”

Each child emphasized their interest in continuing classes.

Upcoming classes

Classes offered by Great Falls Creative Movement include: Twirling Tigers, for 3- and 4-year-olds, on Saturdays from 11:15 a.m. to noon; Leap Frogs, for 5- and 6-year-olds, on Saturdays from 10 to 11 a.m.; Flying Kangaroos, for 6- to 8-year-olds, on Tuesdays from 4 to 5:45 p.m.; Contemporary Dance and Composition, for 9- to 12-year-olds, on Wednesdays from 3:45 to 5:45 p.m.; and Creative Dance for Adults, for ages 12 and up, on Tuesdays from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m.

Thanks to funding from The United Arc, the adult class is free. Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are encouraged to participate.

With the exception of Creative Dance for Adults, which starts in February, all classes start in mid-January. To sign up, contact Anna Hendricks by phone at 413-834-4644 or by email at studio.movement@gmail.com, or visit www.greatfallscreativemovement.com.