Since the mid-1950s, dance and the performing arts have played an influential role in the development of White Mountain students. Today, Director of Dance, Dinah Gray, believes in dance as a vehicle for student success and wholistic growth.
The White Mountain School hosts a professional dance studio in the new Catherine Houghton Arts Center on campus. Our partnership with the Creative Edge Dance Studio enables White Mountain students to take any number of dance courses offered at the studio, including a student choreography class.
“As a repeated physical practice, dance classes serve as a lab where students are able to engage with these skills and recommit themselves to further development everyday. The Essential Skills and Habits are aligned with what I hope to nurture in dance students. That feeling of discomfort and awkwardness must be re-met over and over, creating many opportunities to develop persistence. Curiosity, reflection, and collaboration are essential for success as an advanced dance student or professional dancer.” – Dinah Gray
Dinah joined the Creative Edge and White Mountain communities on July 1, 2018. She brought with her over 20 years of dance experience as a teacher, choreographer, and performer. Dinah studied dance in a pre-professional program at the Virginia School for the Arts and earned her B.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography at Goucher College. She also holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia University. She is enthusiastic about the growth and forward momentum of the dance program here at White Mountain.
Place and program are shared closely between Creative Edge Dance Studio (CEDS) and The White Mountain School. Creative Edge was founded over 20 years ago as the only studio in the area. Offering quality, affordable dance instruction for students from ages three and up, CEDS provides an environment where children can be exposed to movement, exercise, and art while older students can develop strong technique and use dance as their main extra-curricular activity. The studio relocated to The White Mountain School campus in 2014 and currently serves over 210 students, 6 of which are full-time White Mountain student dancers.
The collaboration between CEDS and White Mountain provides students with access to quality instruction in multiple dance genres (ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, modern). These offerings would normally not be available at non-performing arts school of this size. The teaching faculty at CEDS is professional, experienced, and supportive. White Mountain students who come to the school as serious dancers can continue training at a high level while also benefiting from the challenge and rigor of White Mountain’s innovative academic program. White Mountain students continue to grow and take advantage of the academic and athletic opportunities available to them in a dance program that is so closely tied to their School.
“I expect dancers to work hard in class – to concentrate, to stay engaged, to stretch themselves physically, and I try to create an environment where those feelings of awkwardness and discomfort are welcomed. That’s when you are learning and growing.” – Dinah Gray
*All photos captured by Alli Gualin