A new dance studio hoping to bring joy to the community has opened in Salem. Owner Arianne Thompson named the studio located at 158 W 4th Street En L’air which means “movement in the air” in French. “I found this fitting because I believe dancers should be versatile movers with a strong ballet foundation,” she said.
Thompson has always wanted to open her own dance studio. Before starting her small business, she served as a dance educator for 11 years.
Born and raised in Bristol, Tennessee, Thompson began dancing at an early age. “As I got into elementary school, I craved more opportunities and aspired to delve into the world of competitive dance,” she said. “I then began competing across the country. I often competed and attended conventions in large cities such as New York and Atlanta. This was really when my passion for dance and movement began.”
After graduating from high school, Thompson chose to pursue a degree in dance at Radford University. As she put it, “I feel as though my education, as well as my previous performance experience has set me up to provide quality dance education to children of all ages and abilities.”
Performing for the National American College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Centre is Thompson’s proudest accomplishment to date. A close second is her studying abroad in London in college followed by becoming a faculty member and adjudicator for the Dept. of Dance at The Virginia Summer Residential Governor School for The Performing.
Thompson credits her parents for helping her get to where she is today.
“They have always been an amazing support system and have never deterred me from pursuing a career in the arts. Additionally, my friends and college professors have helped me more than anyone can imagine,” she said. “My friends are always willing to lend a hand from painting the studio and completing renovations, to being a constant source of encouragement. My professors have helped me to establish a sound dance curriculum and have provided me with numerous resources in terms of management.”
It took roughly two months to renovate the building to be ready for the grand opening on September 26. En L’air Studio is currently offering ballet, pointe, jazz, acrobatics, hip-hop and modern classes for students up to age 18 on Mondays and Wednesdays.
“I ultimately would love to create a space where dancers feel safe to be creative and themselves while having fun and making memories,” Thompson said. “Growing up my studio was a creative outlet for me and a refuge. I hope to create a similar space for my dancers to grow and build a strong foundation in a wide array of dance pedagogies and styles that will prepare them if they choose to pursue a career in dance.”
For more information, https://www.enlairacademyofdance.com.