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Encouraging Human Potential Through Dance

Ballet White Mountains & Dance Center

by Amie Rodgers

Have you ever wondered who was the first person to ever dance and why? Was it meant as an expression of self or culture or was he or she just having a really good day? With archaeological evidence of dancing dating back to Egyptian tombs and 9,000 year old paintings in India, it is clear that dance has played an important role in human civilization predating the written language.

There may be a lot of reasons to dance, but Linda Bohn is most concerned with its ability to build strength and confidence in her students. Interestingly enough, Linda’s love of ballet began at age six with a bicycle accident. “After the accident, the doctor recommended I take dance classes to build strength. My love of dance took off from there,” she smiled during our recent interview, “I took classes at Jordan Conservatory in Indianapolis (with Butler College instructors) and graduated with a degree in Ballet from the University of Utah. I trained under the Christiansen brothers who had formed the San Francisco Ballet. I also studied in Europe at the Zurich Opera Ballet. I have taught for over twenty five years now.”

As director of the Ballet White Mountains & Dance Center, Linda has enjoyed watching her students grow and is excited to offer an expanded number of classes in her new location in Pinetop. “We started five years ago as Ballet White Mountains with one studio, but with our new location we have expanded to Ballet White Mountains & Dance Center. We have increased the number of teachers and variety of dance programs available to our students. Our mission statement is ‘We encourage human potential through dance.’ We held our grand opening on May 14th and are now enrolling for our upcoming summer camps,” said Linda.

An expert in building confidence in her students, Linda credits North Pioneer College’s Small Business Development Center for helping build her business confidence to expand her business. “Tracy Mancuso at the SBDC has worked very closely to with me. She listens to my ideas and uses their programs to give me direction. With her help, it just came together and I thought ‘Yeeees!’ She keeps me focused and on task, which really helps. I would highly recommend the SBDC to other business owners and already have. I’m sure I wouldn’t be where I am now without their help and direction,” said Linda.

In addition to ballet, Linda is excited to be offering a number of classes that promote health, cultural awareness and build confidence. “Classical ballet is our main foundation because it excellent for cultivating discipline, grace and poise. Other dance classes include hip hop, Mexican dance, jazz, musical theater, and ballroom. We also offer health-oriented classes like our stretch and tone class for adults and workshops that improve balance and stability that can become a struggle as we mature,” noted Linda, “All our classes are designed to build confidence in our students, but our upcoming Glam Camp in June is particularly unique to our area. The Camp is a week long course where girls (age 11 and up) will receive training in makeup, hair, design for clothes, dance, and modeling with a fashion show and dance routine at the end. We also focus on confidence, resilience and nutrition. It went really well last year. The kids loved it. It was the first time something like this had been offered on the Mountain. I would especially like to see girls that are maybe shy or insecure in their development as a lady take advantage of this class. With the bullying (and even cyber bullying) that takes place today, kids need as much self esteem reinforcement as they can get. I look forward to continuing to add classes that help kids become resilient to bullies and low self esteem. I want to see kids have the tools to be independent and secure in themselves. It is exciting to watch youngsters come in so clumsy and unsure and grow self assured confident in themselves.”

A variety of fun summer camps for ages 4 and up will be offered in June and July. “Our summer camps are a great way for kids to get a taste for dance, an opportunity to experience it. In the fall, we will resume our regular classes. In addition to our classes, we have been doing programs for the community and have grown in our ability to perform for an audience. We performed Peter and the Wolf in April. We had seven schools attend during school hours and we had a full house. Every seat was filled. This year’s big performance is titled An Evening of Ballet and it will be on June 3rd at the Blue Ridge High School auditorium at 7 pm. Tickets will be $10 at the door. The performance includes Peter and the Wolf and guest performers of Mexican dances,” smiled Linda “Every year, we also attend a Ballet Arizona performance as a group in Phoenix. Since we have about forty or fifty in attendance, we get 50% off our tickets. It is a great way to expose the students to professional ballet.”

For more information about Ballet White Mountains & Dance Center or to enroll, please call (928) 242-5649. The studio is located at 640 E. White Mountain Blvd (next door to All Occasion Florals) in Pinetop.