A Lifelong Passion
Debbie Carlin has been dancing since she was for years old. “I remember going to classes every Friday and Saturday,” She says. “It was an activity that I loved every weekend. Some students enroll and take dance maybe for several months or even several years, but then drift to other things-maybe cheering or basketball or other sports. But I never veered away.” For her, dance is a way to escape anything that might be troubling her. “It transports you away from anything pulling at you mentally. In dance, there is no sadness or anger, or stress-- you release any hold those emotions have on you when you dance.”
Debbie’s connection to dancing didn’t fade. “As I entered my 20’s, I traveled away from dance due to marriage and having a family, but then I went back to adult classes in my late twenties.” Eventually, she reconnected with her former instructor, who was still teaching. She invited Debbie to assist with teaching classes. “Taking dance and teaching dance are completely different, so I wanted to absorb everything that she knew.” For the next few years, she worked under her, and after she retired, Debbie finally opened Debbie’s Dance Studio.
Learning New Things
“It felt so natural,” She says. “And I have been blessed with wonderful parents and wonderful students. I feel like it is meant to be.” Since the studio opened in August of 2015, enrollment has bloomed from 30 to approximately 70, and Debbie has learned a lot from her students. “I’ve learned when to give attention to issues, and when it is best not to draw attention to the issue. I have learned how to help the shy ones, and how to help someone focus on their positive points, and help them not be so negative.” The first year was a “learning process,” she says, but things have run easily since then.
Plans for the Future
In the future, Debbie would love to draw in more students from high school. “I know they are intimidated by dance, if they haven’t taken classes in their youth, but they don’t realize that you can start at any age.” Debbie has also gotten plenty of requests for adult classes. “I am all for that. If I can get enough interest, I will do that.” Inspired by a group in England called the Silver Swans, Debbie has also considered offering a senior citizens ballet class in the summertime. “There is no doubt that dancing keeps a mind and body young.”
Debbie enjoys using memories of her own recitals into the recitals she organizes now. “Not exact, but with remembrance, like it’s a dedication to my old recitals.” For the Enchanted Forest recital performed in June 2019, she referenced a song from her youth. “I used a song from the old famous Kimbo record company...called the Hippety Hoppity Frog. Years ago, I danced to that same song at age 5, in a solo acro-dance (gymnastics). But I used it last year for my pre-ballet group. I was thrilled to use the same music.”
For Debbie, the best part of every class is the end. “My favorite part is when the class ends, and we do our reverence, which is the ending of class with a curtsy. In ballet, they curtsy to show respect to me, the teacher, for having taught, and my curtsy is to them, thanking them for allowing me to teach them,” She says. “As they walk out of the classroom, I feel so satisfied because I know we accomplished something positive that will stay with them forever. The same as it did for me, when I took dance class many years ago.”
Photos from Images of Von Ada.
Debbie's Dance Studio is located on Logan Street in Williamson, West Virginia. For more information, you can contact Debbie at 606-625-3295 or follow the studio on Facebook.