Prince William Dance Academy Builds Character

Three and four-year-olds participate in a Twilight Sparkle pre-ballet class.

There is so much going on at Prince William Dance Academy this holiday season with continued enrollment, various holiday and winter events, plus a new character-building curriculum.

To introduce dancers to the school, PWDA  invites new students to try a free trial class.

Prince William Dance Academy is an inclusive dance school located on Fitzwater Drive in Nokesville, Virginia. Classes include various levels of pre-ballet, ballet, lyrical, tap, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, and acro-dance. Dancers can begin as preschoolers and continue into their late teens.

The school is located in a charming renovated church building. It provides a traditional dance school environment. However, what Director Kim Thomas believes makes the school so special are the people.

Thomas, an experienced dance educator and fitness instructor, has always tried to make her dance academy a welcoming place for her students. Many dance parents say their children feel a part of the PWDA family. That was her goal.

Thomas believes there are inherent benefits to dance education: children learn movement skills and artistic self expression; balance and coordination; and strength and flexibility. Studies also show that a structured dance program enhances academic achievement, and students who continue dancing through their teen years learn to develop good time management skills, build enduring friendships and demonstrate greater self discipline .

However, she also believes extra-curricular activities such as dance can encourage the basic values, such as friendship, respect and community.

“We’re helping to raise kind, nice human beings. We play a big role in helping these kids grow up. For many of them this is a second home,” Thomas said.

She notes the dance studio can be a place of refuge when the children have problems at home or in school. “It really does take a dance studio to raise a child,” she said.

Dylan’s Wings of Change

Prince William Dance Academy instructor works one-on-one with a student.

This year, Thomas has codified her values into the curriculum. She was recently introduced to the “Wingman for Dance” campaign into PWDA’s curriculum.

Wingman is program born out of the New Town, Connecticut elementary school tragedy. One of the victims was a 6-year-old Dylan Hockley. As an autistic child, Dylan could be at his best when those around him would act as his “wingmen.” In the memory of Dylan, his family created a program called “Dylan’s Wings of Change.”

“Dylan’s Wings of Change” promotes values of “empathy, compassion, kindness and most importantly acceptance of all children no matter their perceived differences.” When students demonstrate these values they “earn their wings.”

Rather than see each other as competition, Thomas wants her dancers to applaud each other, and she encourages her teachers to reward students for their efforts. Dylan’s Wings of Change reinforces those values and helps her dancers to build character.

“It’s about creating a ‘studio culture,'” said Thomas. “I want this to be a place where the parents want their children to come to.”

December-January Events

Prince William Dance Academy dancers and teachers wear Christmas sweaters to the Nokesville Hometown Christmas Parade in a previous year.

In addition to creating a culture among the students, PWDA also believes in fostering a sense of belonging with the larger community and providing multiple opportunities for their students to perform.

As such, Prince William Dance Academy dancers are participating in local community parade this winter and the academy is organizing some events of its own.

Saturday, December 8, Prince William dancers will be performing in the Nokesville Hometown Christmas Parade. The parade will begin at 4 p.m., and will follow along Fitzwater Drive from Brentsville District High School to Route 28/Nokesville Road.

Saturday, December 15, PWDA is holding a dance camp called “Nutcracker and the Land of Sweets” from 1-3 p.m. It is for children 5-8 years of age. The cost is $25 or $20 for siblings. No dance experience is necessary, and the two hour dance camp will include a Nutcracker craft activity.

Un-Trim-A-Tree Holiday Program: PWDA is sponsoring five children in need from the Prince William County community. It is a chance to bring a brighter holiday to children and fill their wishes.

In January, PWDA is offering two new classes: Primary Ballet for children 5-7 years of age, and an adult dance/fitness class. Information on these new classes, and current classes can be found on princewilliamdance.com.

Also, PWDA will begin rehearsing for their first ever recital Daddy Daughter dance open to currently enrolled PWDA dancers

Thomas is excited to have goals for this year that are really student-centered and community-minded and hopes to see her PWDA family grow.

Remember PWDA invites new students to try a free, trial dance class.

For more information on Prince William Dance Academy, visit their website, princewilliamdance.com or call 703-594-3223.

© 2018, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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Category: Arts & Entertainment, Bristow Biz, Education

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