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By Chelsea Davis
Coos Bay World
January 2, 2015


[Coos Bay, Oregon, USA] – — Dance is not just for girls.

Dance Umbrella for South Coast Oregon was recently awarded a $5,000 grant from the Charlotte Martin Foundation, a private, independent foundation that caters to athletics, culture and education endeavors, especially in underserved areas like Coos County, as well as wildlife and habitat protection.

London Boardman, 5, front, a student at Pacific School of Dance (Amanda Loman, The World) 2015With this grant, Pacific School of Dance is launching a tuition-free dance program for boys ages 9-18. The class will meet weekly starting Feb. 3, providing formal training in beginning, intermediate and advanced ballet — “because ballet is the base of all dance,” said Pacific administrative director Pam Chaney — as well as partnering and contemporary dance.


“We want to see more boys developed into dance for Ballet Pacific (Dance Umbrella’s student performing company),” Chaney said. “We want to encourage male dancers by offering a free class.”

The class will be taught by Maria Rosman-Allison, a Pacific instructor since 2007 with an extensive dance background. The school also plans to bring in male guest teachers.

Chaney hopes to model the program after the Oregon Ballet Academy‘s free boys program in Eugene, taught by OBA director and former Houston Ballet, New York City Ballet and Joffrey Ballet dancer John Grensback.

Connor Hammond is an up-and-coming local dancer with his sights set on a career in dance (Wee Photos)Pacific has established itself as a successful training grounds for dancers, both female and male. Trevor Miles now has a career in dance and modeling, and Nick Peregrino dances for BalletFleming in Philadelphia and The Suzanne Farrell Ballet in Washington, D.C. One current student, Connor Hammond, “has his eyes on the prize,” Chaney said. He’s already received several offers, attended a summer intensive in Philadelphia and is focused on launching his career in dance after graduation.

“The whole goal here is to raise awareness of boys’ importance to dance,” Chaney said.

Pacific has seen its roster of boys grow over the years. The popularity of TV shows and movies like Step Up and So You Think You Can Dance have been a boost for dance programs, she said. “It shows that dance is a viable athletic endeavor and a way to make a living,” she said.

Dance Umbrella was established in 1994 to support dance education, provide performance opportunities and enrich cultural and arts awareness and appreciation throughout Coos and Curry counties.


Sign Up

There are openings for up to 10 young men from ages 9 to 18. Registration is highly recommended by calling 541-269-7163.

The program begins Feb. 3, and will run from 5:30-6:30 p.m. every Tuesday



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