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Dimensions in Dance’s Ballet Misha at the New Hampshire Choreographer’s Showcase at the Stockbridge Theatre in Derry. Annmarie Lidman photo.




Dimensions in Dance

Where: 84 Myrtle St., Manchester
Call: 668-4196
Visit: dimensionsindance.com




2015 Best Dance Studio: Dimensions in Dance
Best Thing We Forgot To Ask About: Runner Up

03/26/15
By Kelly Sennott ksennott@hippopress.com



“I really try to emphasize that ballet is a performing art form,” said Amy Fortier, artistic director for Dimensions in Dance and its nonprofit performance company, Ballet Misha. “One thing that’s gotten really popular is competitive dance and competitive cheerleading, but I feel like a lot of that art form gets lost when you turn it into a sport or competition.”

Fortier thinks that she, her students and the general community get more out of dance when they perform not end-of-year-recitals, but ballets with storylines, like Mary Poppins, which is at the Palace Theatre May 30.
Other notable events include April 27, when they’ll perform pieces at the Currier Museum of Art inspired by landscape paintings on view; the InTown Manchester Family Fun Fest this summer, where they perform a take of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are; and their annual Nutcracker performance in December, also at the Palace. This past year, a small group of students has also been performing an interpretation of David Rottenberg’s Gwendolyn the Graceful Pig at various area schools.
“I think kids get excited when they have actual roles. They can really identify with it more. It’s a lot more work for us, and for our school and my faculty, but for us, it’s really worth it to do a huge production like that because the kids get so much more out of it,” Fortier said. 
Dimensions in Dance was founded in 1995 by Michele Leslie, a professional dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Fortier, a former student, took over in 2007 when Leslie died.  She brought her own expertise — she trained at the Boston Ballet, the Walnut Hill School and Goucher College in Baltimore — and added another element, Ballet Misha, the nonprofit performing dance company within the Dimensions in Dance school (which means they can apply for grants). It’s named for Leslie, whom Fortier called “Misha” as a child.
About 200 students, ages 2 to adult, currently rehearse in a renovated 1920s historic building on Myrtle Street in downtown Manchester.
“We have the largest adult program in the state,” Fortier said. “A lot of schools won’t take dancers over the age of 18 because adult programs don’t make enough money [because the classes are small]. … They think it’s not worth it. We’re lucky because we have three dance studios, but it’s typically hard to take a time slot away from a class that could make a lot more money.”
Fortier thinks it’s important that arts organizations support other organizations — hence the company’s  collaboration with Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater, Northern Ballet Theatre, the Currier Museum of Art and the Manchester Community Music School, among others. But she thinks all this traveling and diversity is good for her dancers too.
“Dance is all about relating to your audience, and getting your audience to feel something or believe in what you’re doing. The more diverse audiences they have, the more they can grow as dancers,” Fortier said.
 
As seen in the March 26, 2015 issue of the Hippo.





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