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Thank you for your recent coverage of The Tennessee Children's Dance Ensemble, in your issue covering the state of the dance in Knoxville ["Light on Their Feet" by Adrienne Martini, Vol. 8, No. 48]. I am writing to give further information on a couple of things presented in your article. You mentioned that Knoxville could profit from a course in how to choose a dance school. Actually, Dancers Studio at 4216 Sutherland Ave., the home of The Tennessee Children's Dance Ensemble, has been doing that very thing for 41 years.
Every year Dr. Dorothy Floyd presents a free lecture demonstration for the general public entitled "What you should expect from your child's dance education." The lecture, usually held each fall at the University Center on the UT campus, explains the various dance forms and provides guidelines for parents who may be considering dance (as an art form) as an activity for their children. Salient points include: Make sure the school you choose has a way of evaluating your child prior to enrollment, to be sure he or she is placed in a class commensurate with the child's skill level. Beware of schools that profess to teach ballet to 2- and 3-year-olds. It's just not possible. Also make sure you are allowed and encouraged to watch your child on a regular basis, as he or she progresses in this art form. Choose a school that focuses on training. If you are paying as much for costumes as classes for a young child, this should be a red flag that something is wrong.
While I'm sure it was an oversight, Dancers Studio was not listed in your sidebar featuring the dance schools in Knoxville. This school, the oldest in Knoxville, is known throughout the U.S.A. and abroad for its fine reputation as a modern dance school of the highest caliber. It has won numerous awards for excellence, and while it is the home of the Tennessee Children's Dance Ensemble, separate and apart from that distinction, it is first and foremost a modern dance school offering a full complement of classes for children and adults in modern dance, ballet, and jazz. Dancers Studio is proud that many people teaching dance and dancing in Knoxville have, at one time or another, been associated with Dancers Studio.
Again, thank you for an excellent article. Knoxville has a wonderful dance audience, and as you so ably pointed out, dance as an art form is alive and well here!
Tennessee Children's Dance Ensemble
For Your Reading Pleasure
The recent letter from Kevin T. Perry ["Strengthening That Social Fabric," Vol. 8, No. 48] reflected a profound understanding of the issues facing Knoxville (and most other United States cities). His view that while the government cannot mandate change it can facilitate improvement is most realistic. For those interested in learning more about city and suburban development, I would recommend two books with remarkably similar names: A Better Place to Live by Philip Langdon and A Good Place to Live by Terry Pindell. Both are currently available in soft-cover.
Robert L. Beck