Randy Robbins

A new performing arts dancing class kicked off recently at the Rogue Playhouse in Gold Beach.

Known as the Ellensburg Theater Youth Dance Collaborative (ETYDC) the program is open to people between the ages of 10 and 18 who would like to explore dance, art and music, according to Vanessa Spini, dancer, instructor and co-leader of the program.

The idea for the program came when Spini attended a dance training presentation in Portland.

“I thought, we really need something like this in Gold Beach,” she said.

She enlisted the help of pianist Michele Goritz Berlant.

Their plan is to teach children to “create an out-of-the-box presentation by brainstorming a dance routine where they are in total control of developing their character, costume, storyline, make up, routine — everything,” Berlant said.

The sessions give dancers instructions to create individual and group performances, which will take place at the Rogue Playhouse April 13, 14 and 15.

Donald Parisean, 18, said he loves the expression dance provides.

“I am what is termed a highly functioning autistic person,” Parisean said. “Dance helps me express myself in a way I can’t verbally.”

Emma Armstrong, 13, compares dance to gymnastics and likes the challenge of dance because it is similar, yet different.

“I thought I want to try this out,” Armstrong said

Spini has a background in various dance exercises, performing with 3rd Wave Dance Company and taking dance while studying mathematics at the University of Oregon. She also teaches a community class called Yogi-Belly.

“It’s yoga for dancers emphasizing the correct use of body core and spine,” Spini said. “I enjoy the connection between the brain and body. I like the discipline of being a moving, living thing.”

Spini said the program is funded through grants from the Curry County Cultural Coalition and the Arts Build Communities, along with support from businesses and individuals. The cost for the workshop is $90 for the 35 sessions, and includes dance shoes, costumes, make up and snacks.

Currently, 12 of the 20 spots the grant covers are filled, and the rest are going fast, she said.

For more information, call Spini at 458-205-1685. The deadline to sign up is Jan. 29.