Sundance Studio and Productions opened at Bath Wellness Center in June

In this first in a pair of stories we learn a little of the history of Sundance Studio and Productions based in Monterey, and in part two we’ll hear about how three energetic young women are increasing opportunities for dancers young and experienced. Sundance at the Bath Wellness Center is offering new classes this summer, and will expand the offerings in the fall. So, first the founder, and veteran teacher:

“My name is Dorothy Stephenson, and I’m the owner and director. Sundance started here in 2006, and basically I wanted to create a space in Highland where dance or creative arts of any kind would have kind of a home. My group is originally the Little Switzerland cloggers, and I still instruct them, and they practice at Sundance Studio; they wanted their own space, and I wanted a space where any kind of arts in the community would have a studio space to flourish, start or grow if they wanted to, so I created Sundance as a place for that but also, as a home for the Little Switzerland Cloggers.”

“And did you grow up as a Little Switzerland Clogger?”

“I did. I started when I was six years old, when they were in Burnsville Virginia. They practiced at the old community center there. And it was the only dance show “close” by. I live close to Hightown in Meadowdale, so it was still a forty-five minute drive for us to get to Burnsville, but it was still the closest thing around. I don’t remember specifically wanting to clog, I just remember my mom taking me to clogging, and plopping me down on the floor, and putting shoes on my feet, and off I went, but I’m certainly glad she did it.

Many moms and dads who have driven their children long distances in and out of the Highlands for athletic or artistic opportunities can appreciate teachers who are willing to make the drive themselves. It does take a critical mass of students. I asked Dorothy what the range of numbers has been like for her, over twelve years she’s been in business.

As far as clogging, and Little Switzerland, when I was first starting, the group had probably forty people in it, which was a huge number. Now, it’s around fourteen, and that’s the performers. We have other classes, beginners and adults, and I teach around Waynesboro, and I have a group around there as well.”

Along with the new offerings of Elementary Movement, Fitness and others, clogging will remain a staple at Sundance. Dorothy reassures those who may have doubts about trying something new.

Most people get in there and they’re going’ I don’t know, I’ve got two left feet; I don’t understand it; I think it’s too complicated, and I show ‘em in thirty minutes a couple of steps, and surprise washes over their face, that they actually can get it. It’s not as hard as it looks.”

For more on the studio expanding to Bath, and continuing in Highland, please stay tuned for part 2 of this pair of stories.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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