Dance Arts

It was a beautiful day in the Dance Arts’ neighborhood during a performance last year by 4-year-old children with instructor Tammy Hilmey and her husband, Dave, who played Lady Aberlin and Mr. Rogers. The longtime Olean studio is reopening in October to offer in-person, hybrid and remote dance lessons.

OLEAN — Children and adults alike will once again be encouraged to dance the night, and day, away at the Dance Arts studio on North Union which will reopen with in-person, hybrid and virtual instruction.

Owner Marcia Gallineaux-Hubert said multi-disciplined dance instruction will be offered in mid-October, with registration offered through Sept. 25. She noted Dance Arts is entering its 39th season.

“We have to be creative and we’re taking on new frontiers,” Gallineaux-Hubert said of the various types of instruction available. “We’re looking at dance as a new frontier and an opportunity to raise social and cultural awareness for our students … we’re going to be back in class in a few forms.”

She hopes that one of the ways this will materialize will be to raise funds through dance for charitable organizations in the community.

“We can learn about other cultural forms of dance and reach out beyond our community,” she continued. “We are going to be happy to be back, but we’re not going to be so self-absorbed … we’re going to do the best we can.”

Gallineaux-Hubert said while there will be hybrid forms of instruction, there will be one in-studio program for the Jazz Intensive class, as well as some classes that can be offered completely remote. In addition, the studio hopes to open an arts and artists program for residents of the community.

“But before we come back, it will be safety first,” she continued. “Dancers will be in a six-foot square individual space with a six-foot circumference around them … so we’re limited in the number of children we can have.”

With that in mind, some classes will be hybrid with youngsters attending in-person and remotely, to provide instruction for as many dancers as possible.

Beckie Wheeler, office manager at Dance Arts, said she and the other staff members are excited about the studio reopening in its various capacities.

Wheeler, who has a school-aged daughter, said she believes many children need structure during this time of the pandemic.

“A lot of kids right now need that structure, which is what dance always offered them,” she explained.

For her part, Wheeler said the facility will be safely operated for in-person instruction, as there will be sanitation of all areas between sessions.

“We are making sure that everything is absolutely perfect,” Wheeler continued. “We’re not going to have the waiting room open; when the kids come in they’re going to go right into class, there will be no socializing.”

Students also will go into the studio through one door and take their spot in socially-distanced areas. There will also be far fewer students in each class and when finished they will leave through another door. The facility has large, new monitors in the studio to ensure the virtual lessons will be available to students who prefer that method of instruction.

Wheeler said the studio in the past had more than 200 students from communities that included Olean and Allegany as well as Pennsylvania areas that included Bradford and Smethport.

Gallineaux-Hubert said the studio will host a question/answer session from noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 20 in front of the business or in the lobby, depending on the weather.

For more information on registering, send emails to dancearts5048@hotmail.com or call 307-6988.

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)

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