Dancers’ Workshop has a simple mission: “Let us move you.”
Over the past half century, that has meant bringing high caliber dance performance and instruction to Jackson, from ballet to salsa, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago to Savion Glover.
But “movement” has a much broader meaning at the multidisciplinary art organization. And this spring, an investment in virtual classes has allowed Dancers’ Workshop to venture more deeply in a new direction: health and wellness.
When the pandemic became national news this spring, Dancers’ Workshop swiftly shifted their classes online. This enabled their instructors and customers to maintain their practices throughout quarantine, and, somewhat unexpectedly, attracted a new following along the way.
“The unexpected thing is how many people who weren’t previously comfortable going to classes found themselves motivated to join because they were in the privacy of their own home,” said Jennifer Striegel, DW’s head of marketing, communications and operation.
Whether experience, comfort or time conflicts prohibited participants from joining programs in the past, all of those barriers to entry were removed when Dancers’ Workshop began offering on-demand classes via Zoom.
“Morning, noon and night we are able to bring movement classes to people,” Striegel said.
The “glowing response” and newfound financial flexibility of online courses has allowed Dancers’ Workshop to lean more heavily into health and wellness programs. This spring, they have placed more emphasis on what Striegel considers “en vogue” integrated wellness programs, including MELT ®, Craniosacral ®, Gyrokinesis ®, Gryotonic ®, pilates and meditation classes.
As Dancers’ Workshop has begun hosting small in-person classes for groups of 10 people or less, they are continuing to offer online classes for all ages — including kids — and hope to use digital programs to expand their reach beyond the immediate Jackson community.
“We’re really excited,” Striegel said. “As hard as it is as a performance company by trade to think about the fact that we’re not in-person like we used to be, it’s provided us so many exciting opportunities to actually get more people to move.”
As a beloved nonprofit 501c3 in Jackson, DW will continue striving to keep the community — and those in other communities as well — active and engaged.