DancEast transforms the lives of dancers of all ages through its unique approach to dance education.
By channeling the power of creativity, movement, & individuality, DancEast builds meaningful relationships with dancers and their families. We provide innovative and proper instruction by experienced and highly-educated staff, engage the community through workshops and performances, and provide an environment that fosters the spirit of learning.
DancEast was founded in 2008 on the basic principal that dance is a critical part of the community that should be enjoyed by all those who have a passion to move and create. In order to further that principal, we founded DancEast Workshop in 2012. It is the not-for-profit outreach program of DancEast. The mission of DancEast Workshop is to expose young people to the art of dance and cultivate within them a lifelong passion for dance and the arts through classes, performance opportunities, and community engagement. The program is open to dancers between the ages of 7 and 16 and can be entered by participating in the yearly audition each spring.
We are a non-competitive studio. The reasons for this are varied and complex. While some aspects of competition can provide useful learning tools for students, at DancEast we are devoted to raising well-rounded and trusting/trustworthy dancers in a “drama-free” – well, as drama free as possible when working with tweens and teens – environment. We reject the notion that dance has to be expensive, commercialized and sexualized in order to have value in our society. For DancEast, this means not participating in dance competitions. To be clear, there are studios and academies who do participate in dance competitions without crossing the line we’re so desperate to avoid, and we applaud those directors and instructors for their devotion to forging the divide between art and competition! If you have a dancer deeply interested in the sort of opportunities to be offered by competition dance, we are very happy to provide recommendations. Competitions are simply not an outlet for dance performance in which DancEast chooses to participate.
“Competition studios are in the majority now, and even studios that simply have a recreational focus (meaning students are not necessarily looking to pursue dance as a livelihood) are focused on dance in the commercial realm. And I do think that is limiting, as there is a whole world of dance that exists outside that realm. Creative exploration and development is a privilege and it is too bad that many students don’t receive that opportunity. I don’t think competition itself is the reason they don’t but, I think it’s possible that this majority shift in focus toward commercial dance has affected the balance in education.” (2014 article on the Dance Advantage website)
Our decision to join the "minority" of studios - as a non-competitive dance studio - relates directly to our desire to provide those opportunities for creative exploration and development that dancers might otherwise not be able to access.
In the words of a studio owner in Flower Mound, Texas (because – yes – there are other studios in the world with principals similar to ours), “There is now a great divide – Commercial Dance (think Hollywood & music videos) vs. Concert Dance (think more artistic, classical dance performed in a theater). Don’t get me wrong, I am glad there is commercial dance – without it we wouldn’t have “So You Think You Can Dance” or even dancing in Broadway shows, but I feel like the best dancers in both those venues also have fabulous, well-rounded educations in dance, which is what I strive to bring to our students.”
Consider what Mandy Moore, a well-known choreographer (whose work you have likely seen on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance and in the movie La La Land) stated at a 2014 Dance Teacher Summit: “If you want to train your dancers to be performers in a company, then don’t compete.” If a student wants to continue their dance education in college or dance professionally with a company, there is nothing about competing that will prepare them for that path. Colleges and companies don’t care about competition scores, and many studios focused on competitions don’t educate for those wanting to major in dance. Training young artists to only associate winning with success strips them of the notion that they are creating art.
Competition teaches that the dance to be pursued is commercialized dance, such as we see in music videos. For studios that are specifically directing their students to a career in that field, then competing is a great fit! However, that is not the direction at DancEast.
We hope that you will see the value in the direction we pursue at DancEast and decide to come dance with us!