“We feel like dance is good for everyone. It’s fun and a self confidence booster,” said Drouin.
Drouin Dance Center offers dance classes for all ages and abilities in five different classrooms. The large waiting room offers a place for parents and siblings to wait for the children. They can watch the classes on the closed circuit televisions mounted on the wall.
“The kids don’t know they are being watched,” said Drouin.
Classes start at ages as early as 1-year olds, if walking. Each year there is a new class with age appropriate activities: 2-year olds work on music and movement and 3-year olds do creative movement also considered pre-ballet and other music and rhythm activities; 4-year olds have a more dance based class and 5-year-olds can start taking more than one class - like ballet and tap or ballet and jazz. After that, students can take a variety of classes including hip hop, acrobatics, lyrical, ballet, tap, jazz and modern.
There are approximately 500 students in all of the classes.
Adult dancers from ages 20 to 72 are enrolled in classes. Some do it as a social activity and others do it as exercise. “There’s a comradery in the classes,” said office manager and teacher Brittany Goodnow. Adults are offered classes in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, Irish step dance and contemporary.
“There are tons of people in it. It’s good for the kids to see you can keep dancing your whole life for exercise,” said Drouin. “Empty nesters do it to keep busy.” Some parents take the dance classes because they see their children dancing. They perform together at the recital in the spring. “It’s usually the kids calming the parents down at the recital,” she added.
Recitals take place once a year and there are three shows to showcase the talent from the school. Everyone does at least one performance and others do two shows, said Drouin.
Students come from the area and as far away as Scarborough, Parsonsfield, Windham, Raymond, Standish and more.
Drouin Dance Center has a dance company which students audition for and compete year round. The 50 dancers are committed to the team and many do intensive training over the summer. Some are also on other dance teams in Boston and New York.
Each year, Drouin Dance Center holds a winter show in January for children ages three and up. This year’s show will be Snow White. The auditions are open to all, including those who don’t take dance classes in the center.
What makes Drouin Dance Center different from other studios is the quality of the classes. “All of our instructors are amazing and have great dance education experience,” said Drouin. “We’re positive, not cut throat.” There are 18 instructors.
In addition to the school year classes, Drouin Dance Center also offers six-week-workshops. The classes are for adults, families and there is no recital.
“I danced my whole life growing up. I worked as a professional dancer in New York City. It was always my dream,” she said. She performed in 42nd Street and for Paramount Productions and small companies. The center also gives back to the community, offering classes for the teen center in Westbrook, the Riverton Boys and Girls Club, St. Brigid School in Portland and area day care centers.
Drouin also offers birthday parties up to 12 children with the dance class of the family’s choosing and a party room after the hour class.
Classes are filling up, but registrations are taken until Thanksgiving as class size allows. Workshops start the week of October 9. To reserve a space, call 207-854-2221, email DrouinDanceCenterOffice@yahoo.com or visit the website for more information and class schedules, at www.DrouinDanceCenter.com.