World Dance Program

World Dance Program

Dance is an art form that crosses the boundaries of culture. The Lawson Academy is excited to offer a unique dance program to the Upstate, bringing exciting and widely diverse dance styles which share the movement and musical experiences of other cultures with students of all ages.

Our dance classes feature experienced and dedicated teachers from around the world, and are designed to be affordable and accessible. Ask about our referral and multi-class discounts!

Class Fee: $120 for twelve 60-minute classes (exceptions noted)

2017 Fall Classes run from September 11 – December 7, 2017
2018 Spring Classes run from February 12 – May 12, 2018.

Financial Assistance Grants Available

Beginning Rhythms of IndiaRhythms of India

  • Ages 7 and up
  • Mondays 5:006:00 pm
  • An introduction to Bharathnatyam (Classical) and Bollywood (Contemporary) Indian dance forms
  • Experience both high-energy and graceful movement and a taste of Indian culture and heritage

Instructor: Sunitha Raj, star of over 50 Indian films and teacher here and abroad for over 25 years

Experience a dramatic, vibrant introduction to the two most popular forms of Indian dance, Bharathnatyam (Classical) and Bollywood (Contemporary). While Classical Indian dance draws its essence and emotions from Indian culture and traditions dating back over 3000 years, Bollywood draws from innovative dance styles from all around the world, including jazz, hip-hop, Mediterranean, and Latin, all blended with aspects of Indian classical and folk dances. Students will be trained in the basics of both dance forms. Instructor Sunitha Raj, star of over 50 Indian films and dance teacher both here and abroad for over 25 years, will offer one class for all levels.

Attire: Loose-fitting shirt and tights. No shoes should be worn (socks optional).

Afro-Haitian Dance

Afro Haitian Dance

  • Ages 7 and up
  • Tuesdays 6:007:00 pm
  • Energetic, percussive music and movement
  • Immersion in a rich cultural art form, building focus and confidence

Instructor: Cathy Jager, teacher of African, Haitian folkloric, and liturgical dance

This unique combination of cultural and folkloric dance styles offers an exciting dance form to the Upstate community.

Attire: Comfortable clothing and bare feet.

Hawaiian hulaHawaiian Hula

Girls’ Class: Thursdays 4:005:00 pm, grades 4-8
Adult Beginner Class: Thursdays 6:007:00 pm, grade 9 through adult

  • Ancient cultural storytelling
  • Focus on maintaining the harmony of the family and caring for each other
  • Learn to “talk story” through descriptive gestures, rhythmic movements, song, dance, and language

Instructor: Kaleo Wheeler, musical storyteller

Experience this sacred dance of the heart and the heartbeat of the Hawaiian culture. For the Hawaiians, it is a treasured skill and ancient form of storytelling, honored for its vitality, sacredness and historical content. Hula touches hearts as well as minds, and it fills the soul and pleases the eyes. It is loved worldwide because it is a celebration of beauty, of people, of the land; of nature with its winds, soft rains, waterfalls and surf. It helps women of all ages, sizes and ethnicities to experience their inner beauty and flow, giving them a better self-image and sense of who they are. Students will be trained in the basics of hula and learn several dances during the semester. Instructor Kaleo Wheeler has studied with traditional master teachers (Kumu Hula) both in Hawai’i and on the mainland and has taught classes and shared hula in performances since the late 80’s.

Class attire: Loose-fitting clothing.  Optional: the traditional hula pa’u skirt (information on where to order it will be given, on request). Hula is traditionally done barefoot, but socks or ballet slippers can be worn.

Argentine tangoOne-Day Argentine Tango Workshop

Saturday, October 14, 1:004:00 pm

  • $20 per person; $15 for Converse students, faculty, and staff
  • Ages 15 through adult
  • Learn about the importance of communication in partner dancing
  • Singles and couples of all levels welcome!

Karen Jaffe (Tangogypsies) with special guest Tate Di Chiazza offer this workshop to help newcomers take their first steps in Tango. For more experienced dancers this is an oportunity to refresh, review, reinforce and refine all-important fundamentals. You will work on technique for the embrace, walking, pivoting and turning, with a strong emphasis on comfort, connection, navigation and musicality. The workshop will end with a social dance to practice in a line of dance, using the “codes” of the milonga, and introducing the way music is played for social dancing.

About our guest instructors:
Tate Di Chiazza is an international artist visiting from Buenos Aires. Since his teens, he has studied with master teachers, teaching and performing Argentine Tango in Buenos Aires. Tate has traveled extensively around the world, touring with the famous show “Tanguera” from 2002-2009.
Karen Jaffe lives near Asheville, NC. In her 20 years of Tango she has offered weekly classes, organized social dances, and has traveled extensively to continue her own education and pedagogy.

Attire: Comfortable clothing, shoes with leather or suede soles (or any material that allows easy pivoting–socks or ballet slippers also acceptable); no heels needed. No strong perfumes or colognes.