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Students Dance Their Way to Success At Pacific Arts Complex

By Pamela Sosnowski

Most people are aware that learning to dance offers many physical benefits, such as increased muscle tone, flexibility, and coordination. For the staff at Pacific Arts Complex (PAC), however, students who take dance lessons acquire so much more.

"It's terrifically fun and a great way to build friendships and communities," says Mireya Nunez, who manages the kids' program at the school. "Beyond that, dance is a pursuit that requires a great deal of time, energy, and dedication. Many of our dancers spend upwards of 20 hours a week in the studio. It motivates students to develop a strong work ethic."

courtesy Pacific Arts Complex

PAC initially taught only 50 students and employed a staff of eight teachers in 2012 - its first year. Since then, it has opened a second location in Watsonville and now accommodates more than 500 students and 25 staff members. Classes are offered Monday through Friday in the afternoons and evenings, and all day Saturday. The complex focuses on a variety of dance mediums including ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and tap but also offers specialized classes in jumps and acrobatic moves. "An average dance studio brings in maybe one or two master classes a year; we try and have at least two a month," says Nunez. "We do our best to create the dance studio that we wish we had growing up."

courtesy Pacific Arts Complex

The studio's mission is to "nurture the inspiration, love, and passion for dance" and bring a unique face to the Santa Cruz dance community. All of the teachers have decades of combined experience in both professional performing and choreography with several dance schools. The school performs one major recital annually, and students compete in both local and national competitions across the Bay Area and beyond.

Nunez knows that the work her studio does is nurturing not just professional dancers, but leaders in the artistic field. "Students quickly see the advantages of setting and achieving goals instead of being drawn towards instant gratification," she says. "Those who stick with it are often eligible to for dance scholarships at universities, and also paid work as a professional teacher or performer."

PAC's second annual Carrie's Dream Scholarship Showcase will be held on February 21, 2016 at Aptos High School. Funds raised will go to provide youth dance scholarships at PAC, with 10% benefiting the Aptos High School Dance Team.

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About The Author

Pamela Sosnowski is a freelance writer, social media manager, contributor for REBEAT...

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