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Fitness Arts Center’s students in Irish dance range in age from four to 18 years old. CONTRIBUTED

Fitness Arts Center entertains with Irish dance in local, out-of-state venues

MADISON – With COVID-19’s constraints drastically reduced, Fitness Arts Center has scheduled a wide range of classes and is planning for performances this fall in the art of Irish dancing.

Twelve years ago, owner Brandan Newman opened the studio. “When I moved here from out of state, I noticed there was a lack of anything to do with Irish dancing,” Newman said. “I had already been teaching for 10 years and had danced in a professional Irish dance company in Las Vegas when I was younger.”

“Opening my own dance school was a dream of mine. I was able to finally do so upon moving here,” Newman said.

Students from four to 18 years old can enroll in Irish dance. Students are first grouped by age and then by level.

“We offer a wonderful preschool program, Irish Dancerinas, for ages four to six years. Then, our leveled classes are themed as ‘Super Irish Dancers,’ like a super hero,” Newman said. The studio also offers three levels of performance companies that appear year-round locally, from small, private events to giant festivals — even entertainment at professional sports games.

Fitness Arts Center’s performance resume includes their own theatrical production, “The Irish Nutcracker”; Madison Street Festival; Harlem Globetrotters halftime entertainment; St. Patrick’s Day Parade; Panoply; iFest at University of Alabama in Huntsville; numerous school events, like international festivals; and private parties.

“We were selected through audition process to perform at Disney World in 2019,” Newman said.

“This coming August, we are beyond excited to start offering a preschool option for three- and four-year-olds called the Fine Arts Club. In addition to typical kindergarten readiness programs, ours exposes young students to all forms of the fine arts genre, including dance, yoga, fitness, as well as music, art and drama,” Newman said.

In those areas, Fitness Arts Center offers a concentrated focus for this unique option, different from traditional pre-kindergarten programs.

For an overview, a free preview day for the Fine Arts Club’s preschool class will be held July 10 at 9 a.m. Parents can sign up for preview day at FitnessArtsCenter.com.

For uniforms, both females and males wear T-shirt and shorts. Females wear white poodle socks, black soft shoes; as students advance, they eventually wear black hard shoes. Males wear a different soft shoe (and hard shoe with advancement).

For performing, female team members wear ‘school dresses’ with Celtic artwork. Boys have a coordinating shirt and black pants.

Irish dancing is no more difficult to learn than any other style of dance. “We start students with very easy moves that allow them to master quickly to build confidence that eventually carries them into harder skills,” Newman said. “We focus heavily on our performing skills and how we connect with audiences and portray stories through our dancing.”

Several dancers have been inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts at junior and high school levels.

“Our students came up with our values and mission statement of ways they felt every time they came to class, which sums up the benefits quite nicely: ‘We are a joyful tribe that accepts one another, offers friendship, instills confidence in others and are lifelong learners,’” Newman said.

Fitness Arts Center’s address is 1618 Slaughter Road in Madison. For more information, call 877-360-3690 or visit FitnessArtsCenter.com, Facebook/Fitness Arts Center or Instagram @FitnessArtsCenter.

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