by Lenise Willis

Photo by Jay Young

If popular dance movies like Save the Last Dance and Center Stage taught me anything, it’s that a good dancer is a good dancer. Period. Some people are just good on their feet no matter what.

One dance studio in Greensboro aims to teach its students that same versatility with instruction that reaches from ballet, tap and jazz, to Zumba and martial arts. And even a little theater!

“We try not to raise just a dancer, but also a whole person – a true artist,” said Natalya Davison, Executive Director of Artistic Motion School of Arts in Greensboro.

The performing arts studio, which opened in 2000, offers recreational classes to both kids and adults. “We offer classes in the typical dance studio areas: ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, lyrical and modern.

“But we have also expanded to include instruction in character, ballroom dancing, musical theatre, Zumba, martial arts, yoga, drama, piano, and voice.”

Davison also said that twice a year they bring all of those disciplines together in productions featuring original choreography and scripts.

“This not only allows our students and audience to experience a true theatrical experience,” Davison added, “but allows our students, regardless of whether they are actors, dancers, or singers, to have the opportunity to be involved in a world premiere or two throughout the course of the season.”

This September, the arts studio is expanding even more and opening a new pre-professional after-school ballet program, Artistic Motion Preparatory Academy (AMPA).

“I have been interested for a number of years in starting a pre-professional ballet program in our area that is modeled after my own Vaganova training,” Davison said.

The training technique, developed by a dancer of Armenian descent, prepares dancers to transition to other types of training or dancing including Balanchine, Royal Ballet, contemporary ballet, musical theatre, jazz and more.

“Vaganova training is what I was raised on,” said Davison. “It has been proven to produce very strong dancers equipped to perform and work with different choreographers.

“Students who train under the Vaganova method become lead dancers all over the world in ballet and other venues as well.”

Students enrolled in the new AMPA are required to participate in classes in ballet technique, pointe, variations, character, conditioning, partnering, jazz, tap, contemporary, acting for dancers and piano.

AMPA will be under the direction of Alejandra Dore, former soloist of the National Ballet Company of the Dominican Republic.

“Being a teacher and performer of ballet in different countries, with different cultures, has enriched me so that I am able to incorporate a broader view of how to teach and manage students at all levels in this discipline,” Dore said. “This experience has enabled me to help them understand that despite cultural differences, ballet is a universal language.”

Dore isn’t the only internationally credited talent. The performing arts studio and new program are led by an internationally renowned staff, including alumni from Russia’s Moscow State University of Dramatic Art, and instructors who have danced professionally with the Bolshoi Ballet, the National Ballet of the Dominican Republic, the National Ballet of Armenia and Joffrey Ballet.

“I am proud to say these fantastic new teachers found Artistic Motion,” Davison said. “One teacher saw one of our dancers in a summer course at another studio and contacted us. Another teacher read through current online staff bios and sought us out to be a part of the family. And another got involved after recognizing that we had trained under the same teachers in Moscow.

“It just happened to be the right time and place for everyone. Recognizing their worldly knowledge of and experience in dance, I realized that I had one of the strongest faculties possible to support this type of program.

“Thanks to this collaboration of worldrenowned teachers, we are able to begin this adventure of opening a pre-professional ballet program and are proud to be able to offer such a high caliber program to the kids in the Triad area.” !

WANNA try out?

Auditions for AMPA will be held on Saturday, August 30, and Sunday, September 7, for ages 10-13 at the Artistic Motion Downtown Studio, 800 W. Smith St., Greensboro. Additional details on the program and auditions can be found at