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Style Magazine

Stages-Folsom Dance Arts

Apr 02, 2014 03:52PM ● By Style

by Kelly Soderlund
Photography by Dante Fontana

"Love the dance in yourself, not yourself in the dance…” Ballet Folsom Artistic Director Deirdre Hawkins first read those words as a teenager in an autobiography of Dame Margot Fonteyn, a world-renowned classical ballerina from the Royal Ballet. “Since my earliest years I knew that dance had to always be a part of my life, because it truly was my life, and still is. All through the years, I’ve been guided by Dame Fonteyn’s words and have considered them to be the foundation of my studio. ‘Dance’ is in all of us—children, adults, boys, girls, men and women—and in our daily lives, even if we aren’t trained dancers. Life is rhythm and rhythm is dance.”

Ballet Folsom is one of three youth dance companies that comprise the nonprofit Stages-Folsom Dance Arts, which also includes Sound Out Tap Company and iMPACT Contemporary Dance. Each season, all three companies put on one concert to comprise a three-concert season. This season, Ballet Folsom is presenting a new ballet written and choreographed by Hawkins and Joy Victor entitled, I Want Candy!, which debuts this month.

Stages-Folsom Dance Arts’ mission is to inspire local youth to excel in the art of dance through quality training and performance opportunities that enrich the greater community; and to provide outreach dance programs for the underserved. Supported and sustained by volunteers and individual financial contributions, Stages provides a high level of performance instruction to their dancers by exposing them to many of the country’s top dance instructors and choreographers, as well as creating numerous performance opportunities and competitions. Stages also embraces a strong commitment to serve its community through outreach programs designed to bring dance to oppressed populations and to create new opportunities for youth dancers who might not otherwise be able to participate.

“My philosophy of teaching is to ask all of my students to find the dance in themselves. If [they] want to experience the joy of dance as a wonderful personal outlet, my studio is there to provide that. For those who want to make it their life’s journey, I will do all that I’m able to have them realize their dream,” says Hawkins, who holds a Master of Arts in Education with a specialization in dance from Stanford University.

As the owner and director of the Hawkins School of Performing Arts for the past 24 years, Hawkins has won numerous regional and national awards for her choreography and the high level of technical proficiency and artistry of her dancers. She has received three commendations by the Folsom City Council for her “outstanding contribution to the performing arts in Folsom,” in addition to receiving the 2005 Elly Award for choreography in “Young People’s Theatre” for Alice in Wonderland.

“Ballet Folsom is an opportunity, not only for dancers to advance to perform classical ballets and contemporary choreography, but also to share their love of dance with our community, which will enrich and enhance all of our lives,” says Hawkins.

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