Today I’m delighted to welcome our first guest writer to The Arts Room! Cheryl Burns is Company Manager for Island Moving Co., Newport’s contemporary ballet company. She is also Program Director of Dance at Portsmouth Abbey School, and an instructor at the Newport Academy of Ballet and locally at Just Dance! She is a member of Dance USA and the National Dance Education Organization. A passionate arts advocate and local mother of two, Cheryl is also currently co-chairing the Performing Arts Committee at Guiteras School. I’m thrilled she agreed to share her thoughts with our readers, so without further ado…
“Every day I work with professional ballet dancers, and every day I see students just beginning to dance. They all inspire me and move me to advocate about the power of the performing arts. Now, as I participate in the group of community members that are working together in the Walley School project I hope that others think this is a project that needs community involvement. Why are the arts important? For the people who could not participate in the focus group meeting on the 8th of February – what do you have to say?
Here is my personal response – I’ve always been involved in the arts. I remember trying on my first pair of ballet slippers on when I was 2 years old. The studio was smoky, the wood bench was hard when I sat on it. The two little slippers that slid on my feet, unbeknownst to me, were a very big part of what I needed to get through life. I still use the tools I learned in dance class. There are many, but here are just a few:
-Listen, focus, try. Then try again. And again.
-Confidence can be learned.
-Take care of your body.
-Everyone is different.
This just covers class. There are also benefits gained from performing, working as a group, creating work, and improvisation. I encourage more people to participate in the Walley School project and to talk about why the arts are important in living life.” -Cheryl Burns