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I just recently became involved with the FWDC this summer. It has been such a rewarding experience for me personally and I can tell that this organization is a true staple in this community. The students, parents, and instructors that participate in the FWDC events are one of a kind and it is easy to see that the FWDC has changed many of their lives. They teach more to their students than dance and other art forms. They teach their students to be beautiful human beings who care for the community. I am proud to say that I was able to be a part of one of the recent FWDC events and cannot wait to come participate in and see more of their upcoming shows.
FWDC offers all people a movement opportunity. The staff is knowledgable. Classes are affordable. Nothing at FWDC is too exclusine. FWDC is inclusive.
i have grown up dancing and being involved with the fort wayne dance collective and they have taught me so much. it is such a warm, and welcoming place. it has taught me so much and has really helped me grow as a dancer.
It's been many years since I danced with The Collective, but I can say that dancing changes lives. What I appreciate most is the philosophy that every BODY, no matter the type, size, shape, skill level, etc. has a place at The Collective. It's about creative expression, overcoming fears, acceptance and improvement. The Dance Collective is the kitchen where recipes for growth are whipped up again and again. I was, am, and will always be, a Dancer. I loved my time there; it was exactly what I needed.
THe Fort Wayne Dance Collective is an organization that reaches far beyond definition of the words which form its name. This community of dancers, movers, healers, and artists (in every definition) is creating an indelible mark on Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana. Its diverse outreach programs touch the lives of our disabled people, our urban youth, our elderly, and our competitive dancers alike. Without this organization, there would be a serious gap in our culture as a city, and in our repertoire of platforms for expression. As a volunteer committee member for the Fort Wayne Dance Collective I have been able to see children's dreams come true, experience a rich-almost family like-interaction between students and staff, and been treated to some of the most beautiful dancing on earth through their Guest Artists Residency. I pretty much freakin' love the place because of the people, and the genuine interactions between them, and the produced because of this culture.
Fort Wayne Dance Collective...a place for movement studies and creative expression. All four of my girls have been so lucky to move and create with this organization. As each child has a unique story...it is so comforting to know that there are dance teachers who encourage that individuality, rather than force kids into tricks and stunts and false expressions.
After dancing for over half of my life through a combination of both a professional ballet company (three years) and a competitive dance atmosphere (seven years), when I finished high school I felt like the strive for technique outweighed my initial strive for the rejuvenation I felt through the original artistic pursuit. I had great experiences with all of these groups I had been a part of. But I know that for me some of the most empowering moments of dance were when I was free to take that wonderful technique I was taught through these schools and to create my own space and motion in an inclusive space that would allow me to do so. These were the moments I felt most inhibited in my body and alive. After I graduated high school, I had two months left to figure out how I could complete my dance experience in Fort Wayne before it would be potentially different forever away at college. I reconnected with a dance teacher who had believed in me all along and had always been nothing but kind to me throughout my dance career in high school. She is a current teacher there now and I in fact am still in contact with her today. The first class I took at the FWDC, I remember being nervous and unsure of how it would be. My former teacher told me I would love it, so I trusted her and tried out a class. The building itself was beautiful, it had photographs in the offices and hallways to show case old memories of when the company first started years before. I recognized some of the teachers faces. These faces had genuine smiles and honest content; I felt drawn in to experience advice and observe dancing from these teachers. And I did. These women, old and new teachers, taught their classes in some of the most proactive and inclusive of everyone ways I have ever been treated in a dance class. Everyone was given a voice, and all of our ideas were heard. When we were given a task to copy a movement by one of the instructors it was not to be exactly like hers, we could transcend the movement to how we wanted it to be our own. I felt like an individual in these classes, not simply a part of a group. I felt like I could take whatever emotion I was feeling and completely evolve with it in the space I was given and sharing with the other dancers. It was not about lessening ourselves, becoming smaller or lighter, or taller and higher- it was about reconnecting with our own bodies themselves and letting this interactive connection take us both where we wanted. I felt like I could even interconnect some of my own personal stories happening in my current life back into the dancing if I wanted, but I didn't have to. I was not forced to emote some feeling or to achieve some measurable amount of turns, I was just instructed to feel and become one with my dance and my body. That is what I had missed, this is what inspired me more than anything else. When I got to college I remembered how the FWDC would film some of their dancers and I became inspired to recast a storyline from my English class into a dance that would be filmed. My professor loved it, and encouraged me to keep up with it ever sense. I began noticing how open my school was to proactively restorative new interactive ideas, especially within my studio art major and within my help out at the ethics and nature park. It was here I began taking yoga and remembering the restorative feeling afterwords matching up with what I experienced after classes at the FWDC. I noticed people from my school leaving yoga more confidently feeling like they felt more attached to the body they were living in. They started telling me so, and they also enjoyed the space where they felt unjudged and always welcome. They felt like they had reclaimed their bodies and their intentions and their spirits. This is a concept I have been trying to work with back at school interactively with the community through my artwork all summer and school year, and I love to look back at the current works of the FWDC often to get inspiration. I love the interactive events that the collective hosts that really help to intertwine and give back inspiration to the community like the most recent Romeo and Juliet production. I love how the collective interconnects artistic concepts and they value the visual arts in how the collective engages community attention through their visuals and promotions (a beautiful website, very sincere and beautiful movies, beautiful pictures). And most importantly, I love how the FWDC welcomes any person no matter what their story and helps to reteach us the true and honest sincere beauties of dance, and what can come out of our pursuits if we treat our body nicely value it and restore ourselves by how we artistically choose to reclaim it and move forward with it. This is a dance collective that gives back and restores the souls of its dancers more than any other kind of dance collective I have been a part of. :)
My daughter started dancing at FW Dance Collective three years ago after being involved in both competitive and recreational studios. She loved competing and did not want to change studios. I wanted her to see the artistic side and true nature of dance because sh e wanted to continue with dance as a career. She only spent one hour at the Collective and was completely open to switching studios. She has improved her skills 100 fold in just a few years. My son suffers from severe anxiety but he loves drumming. The Taiko drummers were so encouraging to him that he has gone from standing outside watching a class to performing with their youth group and assisting with younger kids. He even enrolled in a hip hop class. They both have learned a variety of skills included in the creation process of a concert from conception to strike after the show. The instructors are such an amazing mix of people from a vast variety of backgrounds, who are very encouraging to their students. My children do not have just one mentor, but a community full of them!
As a transplanted artist coming to Fort Wayne I was nervous for my prospects as far as being a dancer and teacher. The FWDC is an amazing organization in a small city. The people, the leaders, and everyone involved with it continue to amaze me. I am lucky I be a part of the collective, not only because of the great students but because it is an outlet where I can create art myself. It has it's finger on the pulse of what's happen now In the real dance world, even though it is far away from buzzing dance metropolises such as NYC or LA.