Instructor wants youth to have access to dance

Anti-Gravity School of Dance & Fitness wraps up season with Madonna-themed show
By: Leila Z. Mironova Press Tribune Correspondent
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The owner of a Roseville dance studio has been working hard to make dance accessible to under-privileged youth. For the past year, Felicia Fry of The Anti-Gravity School of Dance & Fitness has been volunteering her time to local elementary schools in hopes of inspiring kids to pick up dance as an extra-curricular activity. She volunteered at Kaseberg Elementary during its fall 2010 semester and joined Cirby Elementary for spring 2011. “The dances she taught were very challenging but age appropriate,” said Lori Burkhead, a physical education instructor at Kaseberg Elementary, who worked with Fry. “Being a Title I school, most of our students can’t afford to take dance classes, so this was a bonus for many.” Fry spent six weeks teaching the kids at Kaseberg various dances and brought in her own Anti-Gravity students to demonstrate technique and perform for the kids. She also offered the kids a month of free dance lessons and complimentary studio time at Anti-Gravity to practice their class dance. The kids at Kaseberg performed the dances in a school-wide recital before the 2010 Christmas holiday break. “That holiday performance was a highlight for most of my students and they talked about it a long time after,” Burkhead said of the performance. Dancing at the school inspired the students to want to learn more. “I got a lot of thank-you notes from the kids afterward,” Fry said. “And there was a good bunch of kids that took the month of free dance lessons, so I know they were at least interested in dancing. A lot of them did stop coming after the month was over though.” Fry knows that the high cost of dance lessons can be discouraging for aspiring dancers, so she has decided to offer full and partial scholarships at Anti-Gravity for the upcoming dance season. “I was one of few who danced at my high school because most kids couldn’t afford the lessons,” she said. “I hope these scholarships will bring in kids who otherwise wouldn’t have considered dancing.” A longtime performer, Fry has been dancing since she was 5 years old. She danced in the studio space she currently leases as a young girl, when it was still being used by the Sierra Dance Academy. The space became available when Sierra Dance closed in March 2007 and Fry took it over two weeks later. She opened the Anti-Gravity School of Dance & Fitness in April 2007. Fry has dreamed of owning her own dance studio since she was 7, but she never imagined it would feel so rewarding. Nurturing by nature, Fry is invested in the success of every dancer taking classes at her studio and has a working relationship with most of her students as well as their parents. “She’s a very dedicated teacher,” says Stacie Coffman, whose daughter has been dancing at Anti-Gravity since the studio’s opening. “You can really tell the difference in the quality of her instruction.” The Anti-Gravity School of Dance & Fitness will be holding its annual end-of-the-season dance recital, “Gravity 2011: The Vogue Tour,” on Saturday. The dancers will be performing in the spirit of Madonna, whom Fry has long idolized. ---------- Gravity 2011: The Vogue Tour What: The Anti-Gravity School of Dance & Fitness’ annual end-of-the-season dance recital inspired by Madonna When: 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, July 30 Where: Roseville Theatre, 241 Vernon St. in Roseville Cost: $15 Info: