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Shall we dance?

Charlie Samuels photo   
Katie Capelli, UWW 91, shows a Nia move; her class is just one of Saratoga's profusion of dance offerings.   

With Saratoga Springs
being home to the National Museum of Dance, it’s no wonder there are lots of opportunities here to admire the terpsichorean arts—from the New York City Ballet’s residency in July to locally mounted Nutcrackers in December to Skidmore performances from jazz to temple dance of India. And if you’re inspired to get up and move your own feet, you can kick, tap, slide, and shimmy in an amazing range of dance forms.

Ballet instruction is available up to the highest level. Promising young dancers at the Saratoga Ballet Academy and Saratoga City Ballet can learn proper technique and hope for opportunities to advance.
And they can outfit themselves with the perfect pointe shoes and more at Saratoga Dance Etc. on
Church Street.

There is also plenty of opportunity for adults, even when just visiting Saratoga, to enjoy dancing for fun and exercise. The Nia craze hit town several years ago, with classes taught by Katie Capelli, UWW ’91, at her Bloom Movement Studio, in the old Skidmore theater building on Regent Street. A Nia class is a joyful low-impact aerobic dance routine carefully choreographed to work all muscles and joints by combining nine different movement forms, from jazz and Duncan dance to t’ai chi and yoga. It’s done barefoot, to great music, with a lively cardio workout between the graceful warm-up and peaceful cool-down. (Full disclosure: This author is loving it.)

The Dance Alliance—choreographers, dancers, teachers, and advocates—sponsors programs and performances and provides information on dance activity throughout the region. One of its programs, Dancing Through Time, offers classes at the national museum in everything from ballet to belly for the over-50 set.

You can stomp at the Savoy, with lessons in ballroom, Argentine tango, club Latin, swing, or hip-hop. Savoy also sponsors popular milongas (tango parties) and swing dances in the Saratoga Music Hall, upstairs over City Hall.

The American Dance Center, which has kept a lot of feet moving since 1968, now rents space in the dance museum for its classes in ballet, tap, jazz, and hip-hop. The museum’s own School of the Arts welcomes students of all ages for classes in Zumba, Irish step, belly dancing, Pilates, ballroom, jazz, ballet, and creative movement.

This February the 23rd annual Dance Flurry festival will host some 4,000 toe-tappers for a three-day extravaganza of traditional music and dancing at the Hilton and City Center and other Saratoga venues. If you can’t find something you like among the 200 sessions—from the Charleston to sacred circle, waltz, squares and contras, Swedish turning, Cajun, Israeli folk, English country, Greek, Chinese ribbon, and “gutsy village dances” from the Balkans—then you’re just not trying.

Skidmore’s own Dance Plus festival celebrates its 20th anniversary on March 28. This year it’s being held at the dance museum, in collaboration with the Dance Alliance. There will be 40 classes in ballet, modern, ethnic, jazz, tap, and more for dancers of all abilities and ages. Anyone for Tahitian, jazz funk, or calabash dance?

Yes, there is even an Arthur Murray Studio, where you can learn a romantic rumba for your wedding, cha-cha and fox trot in group lessons, and work up a healthy sweat in Core Rhythms dance exercise.

Heck, you can even take ballroom or hip-hop lessons at the local YMCA.

What are you waiting for? Saratoga Springs is the place to get moving! —KG