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OHS grad opens dance studio

Jonelle Pariseau (click for larger version)
December 30, 2009 - A 2006 Oxford High School graduate has returned to her roots to open a one of a kind dance studio right here in Oxford.

Jonelle Pariseau, 21, opened Studio 8 Dance Arts Center of Southeast Michigan in July, where she also serves as the studio's artistic director in addition to owning it.

Studio 8 is located inside the Great Lakes Gymnastics and Cheer building at 715 Lapeer Rd. and offers opportunities for students from three-and-a-half-years-old to adults at various skill levels, said Pariseau.

"I like to think that you can come to Studio 8 to be competitive, you can come here to be recreational and if you are competing with another studio, you can still come and take classes here," said Pariseau.

Pariseau teaches dance in four different genres: jazz, ballet, tap and lyrical/contemporary.

"I think it's one of a kind because I tend to take on a different philosophy than what some competitive have adapted," she said. "For example, Studio 8 isn't just for students who choose to compete, we also have different paths that you can take as a dancer without compromising the quality of education that you get."

There are competitive and noncompetitive dance classes, as well as an adult class, which is open to professionals in the business.

She offers three different levels to the adult classes: beginning, intermediate and advanced.

The dancers in the advanced adult class are usually semiprofessional/professional dancers who desire a place where they can explore creatively in an entertaining and relaxed atmosphere. This is what sets Studio 8 apart from the rest of the dance studios in Michigan, as "they are the only studio to offer this program," said Pariseau.

"The adult program here you can do that (dance). You can come in and the classes are what you make of them. I let the adults run the class."

The beginning and intermediate classes are offered on a drop in basis or by monthly tuition.

Students in the competitive program will have chances to showcase their talents across the nation through competitions and other various performances at conventions and community events.

This program is designed for the serious students who has a dedication and passion for dance as separate rehearsals are scheduled outside of the regular weekly practice.

"We are actually preparing for a competitive season starting in mid-February through about May," said Pariseau.

For those students who like to dance but are not able to commit seriously, Pariseau offers a noncompetitive dance class. The program allows for more flexibility and commitment to school and activities, while helping the dancer grow and maintain their talent.

She chose to bring her studio to Oxford because she thinks that Michigan, outside of Los Angeles or New York, is going to be the next place for performers to fine tune their skills.

"I think that right now with the entertainment industry coming to Michigan for various reasons, it's a great place for an entertainer to have a professional career," she added.

Upon graduation at Michigan State, she stayed with a friend in New York, where she "put her feelers out."

She eventually realized that she didn't have any incentive to stay in New York when there were so many opportunities back home.

"I just don't see why Michigan can't also have that reputation, especially for dancers," she said. "There's so much here and so many different avenues that you can take as a dancer, and I think that it's a great place to be."

Pariseau has been preforming on the dance floor since she was three-years-old. She grew up dancing at Deborah's Stage Door Center for Performing Arts in Rochester Hills, went on to become the captain of the dance team at Oxford, and most recently had been dancing with MSU's ImpulseDance team.

She has also studied at Steps on Broadway in New York.

Studio 8 is open on Wednesdays from 4-8:30 p.m. For more information, visit their website at www.studio8dancearts.webs.com.

" I think that Michigan with the entertainment industry is on the verge of something, and I want to be here for that," she said.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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