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South Georgia Ballet and FSU school of dance expand dance opportunities in the south

Dance opportunities grow in South Georgia and North Florida
Posted at 6:11 PM, Jan 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-19 18:55:54-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — "Football, basketball, baseball they get so much support and exposure from schools and people attending games and all of that. I feel like sometimes dance is the forgotten art," said Artistic Director Melissa June.

In the south it's no secret that male dominated sports are the fan favorites. Though, one rural area is about to change that. Between the South Georgia Ballet and FSU Dance program, the south is on everyone's radar.

Though chair of FSU's school of dance, Anjali Austin, said the arts need funding and exposure to catch up to the big leagues.

"If we look at other countries the funding that they put into the arts and education is so much more than it is here. I do believe the arts are valued here but it's not seen as a profession where people are compensated in the same way or valued in the same way," said Austin.

The Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, better known as MANCC is an extension of FSU's school of dance that trains students to become professional dancers and choreographers.

Recently, world renowned choreographer Dianne McIntyre paid a visit to the program. The experience, what some students say was life changing.

"Surreal, I'm just beyond grateful to have gotten to join her and her company," said FSU dancer Emma Morris.

Students and directors alike feel dancing is important and offers so many things such as health, mental health, and discipline just to name a few. FSU dance student, Sherrod Reid, tells me that he feels dance is an important piece to society and he uses his body to make a statement.

"Express how I feel inside physically outside and allowing myself to leave some type of impact when I leave the stage," said Reid.

Currently FSU's school of dance has 88 students, and the South Georgia Ballet has nearly 250 students. Though the passion and talent are there both studios feel this number could be even greater if the resources were there.

"Dance needs exposure," said June.