Try this: Google “Lafayette dance studio.” You’ll find 20 listings in Lafayette. For comparison, there are 12 McDonald’s.
Dance is a pretty big industry here. The operators even have political clout. The Heymann Center was shut down briefly during the pandemic until the dance community raised hell.But most of those studios are for young people. And dance, or any type of movement, is a lifetime pursuit.
There’s comparatively fewer opportunities for adults to age into a life with motion, especially if you’re not looking to two-step. For professional dancers, opportunities can be hard to come by, unless you want to open a dance studio and teach.
Clare Cook is founder of the nonprofit arts center Basin Arts, the only professional dance company in Lafayette. And she’s used Basin as a venue for artists of a variety of disciplines to show their work.
Clare is a Lafayette native, but got her MFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She still teaches and choreographs across the country and abroad.
Now, let’s talk about dance as exercise. Exercise crazes like Zumba or Barre3 are rooted in the physical discipline and exertion of dancing. But it can go much deeper than toning core muscles.
Disciplines like the Franklin Method or Pilates emphasize a mind-body connection in the practice and aim for something much more holistic than physical fitness. Alyce Morgan has taught Pilates at her studio Embody Zest for over 20 years and is now a certified Franklin Method instructor.
That approach uses imagery and movement and what they call “experiential anatomy” to reorient your mind, body and posture. Alyce makes her work approachable. You can take an “Old Tight Guy Pilates” class and she often takes her instruction out of the studio and into the world with public classes in local parks.
Out to Lunch Acadiana is recorded live over lunch at Tula Tacos and Amigos in downtown Lafayette. Photos by Astor Morgan. And check out lunch table conversation about Acadiana’s own dance therapy, Cajun and Zydeco dancing.