"Breathe. Let your body yield to the pull of the earth.
"Be like a pat of butter melting into a pancake."
This is BrainDancing. Each person moving alone yet connected to the others by the music and their breathing. Each moving to the dictates of his or her body.
This is the start of a dance class at Pioneer Dance Arts, 172 Bell Meadow Lane, with director KLee (pronounced kay-lee) Moore.
Each class begins with this exercise aimed at putting each person into touch with his or her own body needs.
This increased awareness helps movements flow easily and naturally. It brings blood and oxygen to the brain and muscles.
Sit, stand or recline
The BrainDance can be done on the floor, sitting in a chair or standing. It shifts the emphasis from the external of looking at a mirror to the internal of feeling the body move:
Yield to the pull of the earth, push into the ground to stabilize your body then reach, letting your body feel light and pull your body into movement.
These are the basics Moore drills with her students until the grounding and reaching become second nature.
Moore follows this practice based on the dance methods of Bill Evans and using Bartenieff Fundamentals, a system of movement exploration and re-education. It leads students to become aware of subconscious movement habits and can lead to positive changes not only in dance but in all movements.
One of the basic tenets is that movement rides on breath.
Classes for all
Moore works with all ages in her studio. Her classes include ballet, tap, tumbling, modern dance, jazz, hip hop and, on occasion, ballroom dancing. She has classes for mothers and infants or toddlers, children, youths, adults and seniors.
Moore emphasizes that today's sedentary lifestyle has led to many people feeling stiff and unable to move. A dance class focused on movement can help loosen the stiff joints and the sore back, and make moving easier.
Moore moved to Sequim in 1974 after coming to visit a high school friend who had moved to the peninsula. She was captured by the beauty of the area and by the small town where she felt her son would be safe growing up.
She opened a dance studio and has been teaching and learning ever since.
Some of her students have been dancing with her for as long as she has been teaching. In one class is Danielle Roth, who has been taking dance with her since 1974.
Two children later, she still is moving to the music. She says it is a great mental break. "You can't be worrying about problems when you're focusing on breathing as you move."
Kat Clark has been dancing since 1975. She also teaches some classes at the studio.
Sixteen-year-old Hailey Estes has been dancing since she was 3. She helps with some of the classes for young children. Katy Oliver has been at the studio since 2004 and Amy Borg since 2005.
Harmony Liebert took classes as a child, then stopped. She found she was getting stiff and came back about five years ago.
The final member of the class is Trey Baldwin. He took classes as a child but left for a time. Now he is back and focused on becoming a professional dancer.
Baldwin, a junior at
Sequim High School, has been accepted at Cornish College of Arts for a summer College Prep Dance Intensive.
He needs to earn $4,000 to attend and is willing to work most weekends. He can do yard work, stack wood, clean garages, wash dishes, sweep and mop, vacuum, do laundry and bake terrific organic corn muffins from scratch.
Anyone interested in hiring Baldwin should call 477-1362 and schedule it with his mother, Sandra Ramsey.
Students at Pioneer Dance Arts are preparing for their annual show at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 25, and Saturday, June 26, in the Sequim High School auditorium, 601 N. Sequim Ave.