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Maple Street Dance Space: A Creative Community as well as a Dance Studio

By S. Mathur

The Maple Street Dance Space is a community dance space. The studio leases space to independent instructors, who bring their diverse styles and creative energy to the classes. Owner and Director Romy Keegan says that the class offering are "a wide and eclectic variety of both unique, original and/or international styles of dance, as well as the usual classical western styles."

The styles taught at the studio range from Indian Classical Dance, Capoeira, Afro Cuban Folkloric and Middle Eastern Belly Dance to "an original and creative contemporary fusion series of dance classes called Ballet-Afrique, which blend the joyful, organic movements of West African dance with the most accessible elements of ballet, modern and jazz." The studio also offers classes in Ballet, Contemporary, and Jazz.

Most of the classes are for adult dancers, and there are also "social dances like swing, salsa, blues and cross step waltz, along side more specialized meditative and therapeutic styles of movement like yoga, mindful somatics, and dance therapy!" Keegan adds, "We also have Zumba, of course, because Zumba is great "gate-way" dance class!" Classes for children are more limited, offering Pre-Ballet, including tap and acrobatics, Ballet-Afrique and African Dance, and Creative Movement.

Dance is an almost unique form of exercise in that it is a consciously social and cultural activity as well. Keegan, who has a background in ballet and African dance, explains some of the benefits: "Dance naturally creates strength and flexibility in the body; it also provides cardiac stimulation, stamina, coordination, and enhances mind/body connections, and it opens our hearts, uplifts our moods and attitudes, and nurtures meaningful community connections. All of these elements help get a body - a Whole Being, in shape!"

The Maple Street Dance Space is also a creative space where independent artists develop and present their work. Events such as choreographer's showcases, cabarets, and other performances and presentations, workshops and other special events make it a hub of creativity. In a city that values the arts, Albuquerque has taken the studio to its heart, and it has won numerous awards. The studio won the 2014 Creative Abq's "BRAVO" award "for uplifting our larger Albuquerque community through economic and creative impacts". In 2015 and 2016, it was picked by ABQ the Mag's for "Best of the City, Top 5." Most recently, they were named "Best Dance Studio" from ABQ the Mag.

The studio was founded in 2004. The centrally located space next to the Urban Outfitters is a city landmark, with its two entrances to the front and back studios. It's a community as well as a dance studio, and students love the bright, clean space which has plenty of room for everyone.

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