Last year, a new dance studio opened for business in former garage located off East Court Street in Marion. In just a short time, the dancers who have come out of this studio are earning regional awards and recognition for their talented steps.
Owner Lindsey Simolke opened Carolina Dance Company of the Blue Ridge Mountains at 357 E. Court St. in June of last year. Her studio is within a former garage building behind the old Coca-Cola bottling plant building. She said she spent more than $25,000 to convert the space into a first-class dance studio complete with a floor covered with glitter.
“We’ve made this old garage into a glitzy dance studio,” she said to The McDowell News. “We’ve put a lot of work into this place but it’s all paying off.”
Indeed, her students are the ones who really shine.
Carolina Dance Company of the Blue Ridge Mountains competed in the EPIC Dance Showcase in Asheville during the weekend of Friday, April 26 through Sunday, April 28. There, Lindsey Simolke’s dancers won three first-place overall titles for their performances. They won judges awards, choreography awards, platinum and high platinum awards.
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“The trophies are taller than some of my dancers,” said Simolke. “We beat many seasoned dance teams who had been together for years. Everyone was surprised by how well my dancers did especially for that being our first competition as a company.”
Her dancers have performed at the Mountain Glory Festival, McDowell Early College’s variety show, the Marion Christmas parade, the Spruce Pine Christmas parade, Asheville’s holiday parade, McDowell Early College’s homecoming basketball game, McDowell’s Got Talent Show, the Little Miss McDowell pageant and last month at the Sweet Treats of the Carolinas Festival.
They did some amazing dancing on Main Street in front of the courthouse lawn for the downtown New Year’s Eve celebration. Simolke said she and her dancers had just three weeks to come up with a routine as part of a prelude to the midnight dropping of the gold nugget.
This weekend, they will go to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. where they will do some clogging. “We also have been asked to perform at Relay for Life for an hour in May,” said Simolke.
She now has 85 students and they come from Marion, Morganton, Burnsville, Bakersville Spruce Pine and Rutherfordton to learn how to dance.
“We offer multiple types of dance such as ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, clogging, tumbling and acrobatics and aerial silks classes,” said Simolke.
Most of her students are girls but she also teaches boys how to clog or do hip-hop dancing. She has adult students who are learning to clog.
Simolke said her studio is unique for the foothills because teaches aerial silks. This is an acrobatic form of dance involving pieces of fabric that hang down from a ceiling. The artists perform aerial acrobatics while hanging from the fabric.
Simolke said Carolina Dance Company of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the only studio in McDowell, Burke or Mitchell counties that offers this class. The closest studios offering classes in aerial silks can be found in Asheville.
Besides learning the different forms of dance, Simolke said her students are receiving lessons about life as well. Through her instruction, the students work hard and become well trained. They are building their self confidence so they can get on a stage and show off their abilities that they worked for and achieved on their own.
“I have worked so hard to provide as many opportunities for my dancers to perform as possible,” she said to The McDowell News. “I believe in setting goals and teaching my students to work hard and reach their goals.”
For more information, visit the Facebook page for Carolina Dancing Company of the Blue Ridge Mountains at https://www.facebook.com/carolinadancecompany/.