A debut performance at Mountainside

‘If you can breathe, you can move. And if you can move, you are already dancing.’

Mountainside Dance Center will hold their very first public ballet performance in collaboration with world renowned choreographer, Fran Ichijo, and dancers from Hope Garden Children’s Ballet Theatre.

By Chris Green

They will perform a magical medley of ballet to music by Kid Pan Alley founder Paul Reisler, and Jeff Midkiff’s concerto for mandolin and orchestra, “From the Blue Ridge, A Concerto for Mandolin.” A portion of the production has been made possible by the Claudia Mitchell Grant Fund.

Many of you are familiar with Anne Williams, founder of Mountainside Physical Therapy — and, being a professionally trained dancer, founder of Mountainside Dance Center.

She has introduced the art of dance to children as well as adults and wishes to share her gift and those of her staff with many more in the Rappahannock community. She also offers scholarships so that all, regardless of economic means, can celebrate freedom of movement, quiet introspection and discipline.

I had the pleasure of attending a recent rehearsal for the upcoming ballet performance. Children as young as four — little Grace Wyant, for instance — possessed a poise and calm serenity beyond their years.

Aubrey Dorman, Anne Williams’ niece, lithe as a reed in the wind, danced with pure elegance, as did all in attendance. The theme of the dance is a veneration of the ethereal beauty of the Blue Ridge. The dancers capture the movements of forest and mountain dwellers, of living creatures, even the tender unfolding of blossoms and leaves. I was captivated by the dancers moving to the backdrop of the sounds of a piccolo and the soft strokes of a mandolin .

Annie’s dance programs cater to all ages and, not unlike thoroughbred racing (where horses are bred and progress based on their growth and maturity), so too students are introduced to more advanced dance when they are physically and emotionally able.

Her staff at the Dance Center includes artistic director Philip Rosemond, a full time professional dancer for 21 years with eight ballet and three modern dance companies, including the New York City and Washington Ballet.

Kitty Keyser, the walking definition of a free spirit, teaches Creative Dance & Movement for Children. She has been a certified Waldorf Teacher for 18 years and an early childhood specialist, with 30 years of experience teaching movement and dance.

Anne’s mantra is: “If you can breathe, you can move.” Quoting Philip Rosemond, she recites, “And if you can move, you are already dancing.”

The ballet performance is being held at the Rappahannock County High School on Sunday, June 11, at 4 p.m. Kids are free (18 & under) and adult tickets are $10. To purchase tickets please contact Anne Williams at 540-987-9390 or email mpt@mountainsidept.com.

Chris Green
About Chris Green 163 Articles
Chris Green (formerly Chris Doxzen) is an an executive recruiter by profession who enjoys exploring and writing about all things Rappahannock. Friends and neighbors with potential stories for her Sperryville column should email her at chrisdoxzen@gmail.com.