Morph Photos by Judee Richardson Schofiel
After five successful years, dancer, teacher, choreographer and director of Tippy Toes Dance School Michele Hopkins is ready to take a leap of faith and expand the school and her direction. With more than 25 years of dance experience and 15 years of teaching throughout the region and acrossOntarioshe knew it was time to open her own private studio. “This was the obvious next step for me, I wanted to pass on my education, experience and continue to develop my creativity with chorography. Dance is my true passion and running my own studio has enabled me to make it a part of my daily life. Just as I have watched my young students evolve as dancers develop and mature, so has the direction for the school,” explainsHopkins.
At present the school is undergoing some big changes including a fresh new name and brand.TippyToesSchoolof Dance has made the transition into MORPH–Dance, Arts,FitnessAcademy. It also has an overall curriculum, based on her recent studies this summer at the American Ballet Theatre inNew York City,New York, where she completed the ABT curriculum primary levels 1 through 5.
Hopkins is also currently working on certifications in Pilates and yoga movement. She already incorporates some of these exercises into her dance classes as they are effective means of building strength, flexibility and support the development of a dancer. She is planning to expand her classes in the upcoming year as she has had many requests from adults who are craving to retain and regain mobility and motion. “Pilates and yoga exercises help develop the strength to allow us to move more freely even in simple day to day activities. But it is in dance where a true freedom of movement can be experienced,” saysHopkins. She also included that she anticipates that classes will be available in January of 2013.
The school will remain true to its roots which includes ballet, Pointe, repertoire, contemporary jazz, modern, theatrical dance, conditioning, strength & strength, yoga, Pilates, and choreography. However,Hopkinsis eager to take her students to the next level of learning, preparing them for potential professional careers in the field of dance. Her connections and partnerships throughout the years give her an edge in the industry. In 2005 she introduced Frank Augustyn to the community
Michelle Hopkins photo by Judee Richardson Schofield
and coordinated the Augustyn & Artists Ballet Workshops at the Cambridge Centre for the Arts for the past 5 years. This workshop has brought some of the greatest dance teachers toCambridge.
Her resume boasts many accomplishments from her formal training at the National School of Ballet inTorontoto her teaching certification from Feder School of Classical Ballet,Niagara Falls,New York. To look at her performing repertoire the word that comes to mind is extensive and includes roles in the Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Peter and the Wolf, the Bach Concerto, The Funeral and Ocean Blue. “All of these experiences and opportunities have given me the tools to improve as a dancer, choreographer and more importantly as a teacher.”
Although she has choreographed several pieces, the recent work, ELEMENTS did shine on the local circuit and dance enthusiasts are still conversing over how elegant the movement was at this level. “Some of the most exciting parts of my dance journey has been partnering with members of the community. I have taken on many roles and have initiated, organized, co-ordinated, juried and performed for numerous committees, festivals and organizations throughout the years. I was honoured to be selected as Artist in Residence in 2007 at the Cambridge Centre for the Arts as this opened many doors to share and invite the community to embrace and experience dance at a new level.”
Consider yourself fortunate if you had been privy one of 4 flash mobs Michele organized this past spring. Dancers ranging from ages 4 through to 70, non-dancers to professionals, and with all range of abilities joined together to dance in a grocery store, as a fundraiser and at other events inCambridge. Michele is always involved in engaging the community in dance and this was a true testament to her dedication to dance, the community and worthy causes.
Michele has been the recipient of the Mayor’s Cultural Award (2004), Bernice Adams Award (2008), Woman of Distinction: Arts & Culture (2008), OAC (2008), and the Waterloo Arts Fund (2008). She has accomplished more than most in her field so early on in life and is looking forward to the next chapter of her book of repertoires. Her students will be donning their new ABT uniforms in rehearsal for the upcoming performances preparing for the holiday season with excerpts of the Nutcracker in collaboration with Cambridge Symphony Orchestra.
I am told there are few new projects in the works to look forward to in the near future but will have to wait to get more details, until then Michelle invites everyone to support the local performances and when opportunity strikes, dance like no one is watching!