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Meet Chrissy Reynolds of Annemarie’s Dance Centre in Ashland

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chrissy Reynolds.

Chrissy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I made the decision to major in dance at the college level after I took classes throughout my childhood. My parents were horrified and I’m sure my mom regretted that fateful day she took her 3-year-old daughter to dance class at the VFW. I was accepted into the BFA program at Emerson College in Boston. It was there I was exposed to modern dance and the new idea to my 18-year-old self that dance and choreography was an intimate and personal expression. Even though I had danced throughout my childhood I did not have any experience with choreography. At Emerson College (under the direction of Janet Taisey Craft and with wonderful faculty like Tommy Neblett) I was on my way to finding a choreographic voice. Choreography became more of a passion for me than performing. When I graduated I started a fledgling modern company in the city and we did a bit of performing in Cambridge, Boston and California. It was not paying the bills, however. After selling my soul to a telecommunications company working as an administrative assistant I decided to teach. A friend told me about a studio in Ashland, Massachusetts that was looking for a jazz teacher and I remember thinking – where is Ashland? After a steep and quick learning curve on time management in a classroom, I started connecting with the students. I loved the relationships with the dancers and fellow teachers. I was surrounded by people who loved what I loved. I still had the creative freedom I enjoyed with choreography. What started as teaching one day a week turned into 6 days a week. I created The Movement Project Performance Company a few years after I began teaching full-time. This company was a way for students who were serious about making dance their primary extra-curricular activity to explore it in a deeper, more meaningful way. Five years ago I purchased the studio from the founder Annemarie Fairhurst. I’m still figuring out the best way to wear the business owner hat. I love the new challenge it provides me. There are times I wish I could hide in the comfort of the studio however – teaching class and connecting with the students I love. Most days I enjoy both. Being able to steer the studio in the direction I want it to go is exciting.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I think a career in the arts is never a smooth road. People underestimate the amount of work it takes to do it successfully. When you are passionate about your work it is hard to separate yourself at the end of the day. I have strong opinions about the value people place on the arts in our country verse something socially accepted like sports. I would love to see the arts on an equal playing field. There is also is a lot of self-criticism when it comes to dance (and possibly all the arts). I always feel like I could do better. Be better. Work harder. It’s hard to know when you should be cutting yourself a little slack and when the criticism is deserved. I am my best and worst self through the lens of dance.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Annemarie’s Dance Centre – what should we know?
Annemarie’s Dance Centre has been a local business staple in the metro-west area for 40 years. We have seen thousands of dance students through the studios of our dance center. As a general rule, the studio tends to shy away from fads and trends in dance. We focus on quality, consistent dance education in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, musical theatre jazz, pre-pointe and pointe (for students who qualify) and hip hop. Instead of competing with our students we offer students an opportunity to audition for our performance company. The studio focuses on community performance and involvement. The creativity of our faculty and staff is what sets us apart. I do believe we have the dance dream team. I am most proud of the fact that our students are performing age appropriate, interesting, creative and unique choreography. I am equally as proud of the fact that we have so many students that grow up at and with the studio – 10 and 15-year dance students that we have the pleasure of getting to know. Ones that consider us family.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Annemarie Fairhurst was the founder of Annemarie’s Dance Centre and she has been a fantastic mentor for me both when I worked under her and even now that I am the owner. Tommy Neblett of Prometheus Dance was instrumental in helping me accept my choreographic voice. Janet Taisey Craft of The Ipswich Moving Company was my main influence throughout my college years. She taught me to stand up for what I believe even if I am the only voice in the room. All of the teachers at the studio now inspire me in different but equal ways.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photographers Paul Vicario (owner shot) and Bradley Rhoton (stage pictures)

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