Dance stu­dio cel­e­brates 40th an­niver­sary

North Penn Life - - Front Page - By Amanda Pic­cir­illi apic­cir­illi@jour­nal­reg­is­ter. com

hou­sands have tapped, spun, jumped and pirou­et­ted along Mar­lyn Abram­son’s New Dance Work­shop sWuGLo flooUs. The doors have opened and closed to students year-in and year-out since 1973 and each dancer has left an im­print on Abram­son’s heart.

In 2013, the dance stu­dio, which holds its sea­son from Septem­ber through May, will be cel­e­brat­ing its 40th an­niver­sary.

Since the be­gin­ning, all have been wel­come to join the work­shop, and Abram­son said she hopes the com­pany will continue to grow dur­ing its mon­u­men­tal year.

“We’re a neigh­bor­hood dance school and be­ing community based is who we are,” said Abram­son.

Start­ing in the early ‘70s out of her North Wales home, Abram­son had 12 lit­tle girls GDnFLnJ DOonJ WKH flooUs oI her home. With quick growth, she had to move to a big­ger space.

“A goal of mine has al­ways been to take care of chil­dren and I just hap­pen to be do­ing it through some­thing I love, which is danc­ing.”

Lans­dale was the start­ing lo­ca­tion in 1973 for the Mar­lyn Abram­son School of DDnFH. DooUs fiUsW oSHnHG for the stu­dio at Peter Pan Nurs­ery School at Fourth and Ch­est­nut streets. The dance school then moved sev­eral more times, in­clud­ing a site on Cort­land Street and later a fa­cil­ity at the in­ter­sec­tion of Broad and Main streets.

For nearly two decades, Abram­son’s stu­dio has been lo­cated in Pen­nwood Plaza, 1801 N. Broad St., Lans­dale, and goes now by the name Mar­lyn Abram­son’s New Dance Work­shop.

In 1997, Abram­son ac­quired the New Dance Work­shop in Up­per Gwynedd, which is now lo­cated in Spring House, and then ex­panded with stu­dios in Har­leysville and Jami­son.

“The suc­cess I have re­ceived in Lans­dale is thrilling and I will al­ways hold this lo­ca­tion dear to my heart be­cause this is where I started,” said Abram­son.

“Friends would tell friends; my doc­tors and other lo­cal Lans­dale busi­nesses would send their kids to me. It’s a strong niche here where peo­ple like to look out for each other. It’s been a real fam­ily. If you live in Lans­dale and you want to dance, you come to me.”

Mar­lyn Abram­son’s New Dance Work­shop of­fers a full cur­ricu­lum of dance tech­niques us­ing a de­velop- men­tal ap­proach that en­ables students to learn and grow at their own pace in a non-com­pet­i­tive at­mos­phere.

“Thirty years ago we HnWHUHG LnWo ouU fiUsW DnG onOy com­pe­ti­tion,” said Abram­son. “The en­vi­ron­ment there was aw­ful. Moms were there wear­ing bowl­ing jack­ets and boo­ing. I never wanted my kids to be in that en­vi­ron­ment ever again be­cause they are just that, kids.”

Abram­son main­streams all of her dancers. The stu­dio has had male and fe­male students with spe­cial needs in­clud­ing Asperger’s and autism.

A mem­o­rable mo­ment for Abram­son is when an 8-yearold girl who had can­cer con­tacted the dance work­shop with the hopes to dance on a stage in a tutu. That lit­tle girl did get her chance in the spot­light be­fore she lost her bat­tle with can­cer.

“All kids can dance, they just need to fol­low the per­son in front of them,” said Abram­son. “Moms are al­ways so wor­ried that their kid can’t do this or that. I have faith in them that with time they will be OK. Ev­ery­one can do it.”

For students who want a more chal­leng­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at Mar­lyn Abram­son’s New Dance Work­shop, they have the abil­ity to join the dance com­pany. There are cur­rently 25 per­form­ing com­pa­nies, which in­clude bal­let, tap, jazz, hip-hop, con­tem­po­rary lyri­cal and Ir­ish step.

Over the last 29 years, the Mar­lyn Abram­son’s New Dance Work­shop has spread its danc­ing joy throughout the community, per­form­ing in nurs­ing homes, the mall and hol­i­day pa­rades. The dance com­pany will be mak­ing a sixth ap­pear­ance in Walt Dis­ney World next year.

In De­cem­ber 2011, the com­pany per­formed its seventh pro­duc­tion of the “Nutcracker” with the Donetsk Bal­let Com­pany from Ukraine. There were 94 students who par­tic­i­pated with the world-fa­mous bal­let com­pany.

“Watch­ing my students grow up is my great­est plea­sure. That’s the best part,” said Abram­son.

In al­most four decades, Abram­son has been to col­lege recitals, wed­dings and per­for­mances to watch her past students suc­ceed in life.

Abram­son has also had the plea­sure over the last nine years to see sec­ond gen­er­a­tions com­ing into the dance work­shop, hav­ing the abil­ity to see moms, grand­moms and grand­daugh­ters walk in to­gether, “see­ing how they all look so alike.”

“I could not be more thank­ful for all of the students and all of my em­ploy­ees, the in­struc­tors and as­sis­tant di­rec­tors. I can­not say thank you enough,” said Abram­son.

With the 40th sea­son ap­proach­ing, in­ter­ested students can at­tend one of the dance work­shops at four lo­ca­tions. In­for­ma­tion can be found on Mar­lyn Abram­son’s New Dance Work­shop web­site at http:// new­dance­work­shop.com.

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