Little dancers learn the basics of ballet

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 10, 2007

VIDALIA — Knocking on the front door at Alyson Parks’ Cypress Street home on a Wednesday afternoon won’t get you anywhere.

But walk around to the back door, and you’ll get quite the show of cuteness — Parks and a group of young children twisting and bending their bodies — some gracefully, some not — into what are unmistakably ballet positions.

Parks, 22, has been operating a ballet, tap and jazz dance studio out of the back of her residence since the last week of August, and teaches students ages 3 to 6 on Wednesday and ages 7 to 9 on Friday.

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“I taught one class for a few weeks during the summer, but I’ve only been doing this for a couple of weeks,” she said.

Having taken dance lessons since the age of 3, Parks studied at the Ferriday studio of Leslie Keahey and with Linda Lavender’s dance company in Monroe, which enabled her to perform with the Twin City Ballet Company.

A business graduate from Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Parks, who along with teaching dance works as a veterinarian’s technician at Dr. Justin Gregg’s office, said she originally wanted to be a veterinarian.

“I was majoring in biology to become a vet, but I didn’t want to stay in school as long as it would require,” she said. “I changed my major to business and my parents helped me start this studio.”

After expanding an old bedroom in the back of the house and converting a bathroom into a changing room, it was only a matter of painting the walls red, placing dance bars on the wall and erecting a room-length mirror before the modest house could double as a studio.

Parks said she eventually wants to be able to teach dance full time, and hopes she can take some of her students to work with the Twin City Ballet Company.

“When I was with them, I improved a lot because I had to work with other people, and because they had a lot of guest directors from places like New York who had been on Broadway and places like that,” she said.

Parks said once she got into dance she never looked back. “When I was younger I would tell my mom I didn’t want to go to my lesson that day, but once I reached a certain age I never wanted to quit,” she said.