Dancer brings unique form to East Tennessee Ballet Academy

Published 10:53 am Thursday, April 2, 2015

East Tennessee Ballet Academy is expanding its class schedule beyond traditional ballet training to include Volo, a mixture of animation and hip-hop style dances with other forms of movement in the mix.

Volo, Latin for “I fly”, is the creation of 18-year-old dancer Micah Nelson. Nelson has years of experience as a dancer, including time in a competitive hip-hop dance team named M8U. He also danced with a dance team created by his brother called Mark834 Underground.

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“Volo is a collection of styles,” Neslon said. “It doesn’t have a specific genre. I am not going to teach just one thing; I am going to teach a lot of things that go well together.

“It is really cool,” he added. “I love movement, and I’m passionate about dance. I can’t wait to teach it.”

Volo emphasizes animation styles of dance and hip hop dance along with martial arts and parkour running. Animation dance is a generalized term for fluidity dancing, “pop and lock” and robot styles, Nelson said.

“It is gaining popularity and more people are doing it,” Nelson said. “It is becoming something that more people are familiar with.”

The new Volo class will bring about an added variety to the ETBA class schedule, ETBA Director Cynthia Bernshausen said.

“It is very different from anything we do right now and we think it is a good fit for us,” Bernshausen said. “It is different, it is athletic and it is artistic. What they learn in these classes can translate over to our performances and the other things we do.”

While Neslon has instructed a few dance classes in the past, this is the first time he will be instructing a whole series of classes.

“I think it is going to be a lot of fun,” Nelson said. “I am a natural teacher. I just teach with everything, with everyone. That part is not hard. I love interacting with people. The best part for me will be seeing a dancer’s confidence grow.”

A lot of animation dancing is freestyle, Nelson says, and sometimes when someone is asked to freestyle, they freeze.

“They say I can’t dance,” he said, “but yes, they can because they just did. When you see the confidence grow, it shows in their eyes. I am looking forward to seeing how much they grow and improve.”

The first dance session will be tonight from 5:30-6:30 at the East Tennessee Ballet Academy at 312 E Elk Ave.

Students are encouraged to drop by a class for free to decide if they want to continue, Bernshausen said.

The classes will be held every Thursday night until May 21. The eight-week session is $50 for all or $10 a class.

“We are excited to see how this develops,” Bernshausen said. “We will definitely bring it back again next year, but if the demand is there we could do more.”

For more information call 512-1722.