Spirit of Dance
September 16, 2010
If it weren’t for Wendy Bradshaw, Burgundy Ransom wouldn’t be majoring in dance at Oklahoma City University. And, college student Jordan Sattig may not have found an outlet that keeps her positive.
This month, Bradshaw celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the dance studio she opened in Fairplay. All she ever wanted to do was dance, and when she moved to Colorado from the East Coast in 1995, she thought the change would force her to hang up her dancing shoes because she didn’t know of any studios in Fairplay. But that turned out to be the key she needed: After commuting to Summit County to teach, she finally decided to take the leap and open up shop in Fairplay. She began with 34 students off the bat. Today, she teaches more than 130 adults and kids and employs four people: dance instructors Gale Sanville, Elena Doyle and Aimee Sanborn and office manager Jean Krak.
“Dance has always filled my soul and spirit, and I found a way to share my passion and love of dance with the community of South Park,” Bradshaw said. “I really feel like we have it dialed in; this community knows we’re serious and we’re professional.”
Her spirit shines through her instruction.
“When I danced with Wendy she just made it really fun,” Sattig said. “I could tell it was something she loved. She was always happy to be in class … even when she was stressed, dance is what clamed her down and (allowed her to) be who she is.”
In a similar manner, dance keeps Sattig happy.
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“I’m like Wendy,” Sattig said. “Whenever I have a bad day or feel stressed, I know I can dance and express myself. She’s an amazing teacher, and she’s given so many people hope through dance.”
In 1983, Bradshaw began studying the Cecchetti Method of ballet, as well as jazz, lyrical, tap and gymnastics. She designs her curriculum to encourage students’ self-esteem, physical and emotional confidence and a strong technical foundation.
“We give the same training to those students who want to go into dance as a career and those who are just in it for fun,” she said. “We strongly recommend that all of our students study ballet, as it is the foundation of all dance forms. Studying any classical art form will add structure, discipline and continuity to a child’s everyday routine. This is something that they will carry with them for their entire lives.”
She prides herself on the fact that students such as Sattig and Ransom are extending their dance careers by majoring in the field.
“The rewards of my dance studio are many,” she said. “Seeing one student who was so shy that she didn’t even look at me for a year blossom into a wonderful dancer was a very nice event in my life and makes it so worth it … It is my belief that dance has a unique power to engage and motivate students by helping them develop discipline, a drive for excellence and to believe in themselves. My goal is to produce an upbeat atmosphere of fun and enjoyment through the movement of dance.”
“She has a way of explaining everything you need to know all the way from adults to little kids,” Ransom said. “I probably wouldn’t be here, where I am, if it weren’t for her always encouraging me.”
And Bradshaw has no plans to change: In the next 10 years, she hopes to do the same thing she’s doing now – just even better.
Her fall classes began this week, and her annual May recital is a high point in students’ experience. For more information, visit http://www.thespiritofdance.net or call (970) 389-1915.