Sierra Academy of Dance expands

Sierra Academy of Dance expandsSierra Academy of Dance made it through the pandemic by constantly adapting to the mandated guidelines. Now they have many offerings to enhance the community. In December they will return to the stage for the first time since the earthquakes; they are offering party planning and execution for children through Royal Princess Ball birthday parties; and they have several new classes that will interest dancers and non-dancers.

Ridgecrest native, Inda Alexander, brings a fresh set of ideas to the studio in order to share her love of dance and offer opportunities that may no longer be available in the community.

Fridays at 6:30pm and Saturdays at 2pm she teaches Hip Hop, “I wanted to offer it because it is an easy way to get people interested in dance, it is a good segue into dance. Non-dancers are not usually interested in ballet or jazz first off. They are usually interested in hip hop. Hip hop is good for non-dancers, for people who are interested in having fun, getting exercise and learning something they can use on a dance floor. Especially for boys, boys can enjoy hip hop. Once they are in the dance studio they might get more interested in dance.”

On Tuesdays and Fridays at 7:30pm and Saturdays at 11:00am, “Zumba is a fun dance exercise class. It incorporates hip hop, Latin music, Caribbean music. You can just follow along and groove out to the music.”

Musical Theater, on Thursdays at 6:30pm and Saturdays at 1pm, “Is for folks who have an interest in musical theater and in performing someday,” she says. “I wanted to create something for the community, for high school and college kids, so they can experience musical theater. I plan to use songs from Jesus Christ Superstar, Hairspray and The Wiz.” Choreography will be created during the classes and coursework will incorporate dance, acting and dance. “I would like to give free performances for the community.”

Alexander’s talent and drive were evident from an early age. From ages three until six she studied dance locally at Simply Dance. Her mother noted her focus and ability and wanted Alexander to have a formal dance education. For the next nine years Alexander was driven to Lancaster by her mother to attend the Extensions Performing Arts Academy. She auditioned for and joined the academy’s company which required a rigorous study of various dance forms for four hours per day, five to six days per week.

By the time Alexander finished middle school, she was tired of commuting. Shortly after she began studying with Sierra Academy of Dance and soon after was teaching and co-choreographing with the show’s Artistic Director, Cate DeMin. Performing in the RMES production of “Beauty and the Beast” was an eye-opener for her. “ I really enjoyed that style of dancing. I started looking into musicals and watching them. It was a fun experience.” She went on to choreograph for Burroughs High musical theater productions.

After high school graduation Alexander attended Cero Cosso to study Archaeology and Anthropology. She took a gap year then moved to Burbank after deciding to pursue professional dance. “I was doing auditions for Universal Studios, for Disney, for local theaters. I auditioned for Debbie Allen Dance Academy and was cast in their ‘Hot Chocolate Nutcracker,’ a contemporary version of the Nutcracker. I rehearsed with them for several months and had performances in December. At the same time I was rehearsing and performing contemporary dance with the Timothy Tristan Dance Company.”

The pandemic ushered her home and now she wants to contribute to arts in our community.

“I feel like the community needs more art in general and I would like to provide that in any way I can. I’d like to share the choreography we come up with and get the community more interested in supporting the arts.” She urges people to check out dance, saying, “If you have even a passing interest in dance, you should try it out at least once. Any type of dance: ballet, jazz, hip hop, even zumba. Get the exposure to dance. It is a very important way to express yourself and it is a beautiful art form.”

Sierra Academy of Dance is located at 1008 Kyle Ct, Ridgecrest off of Richmond Road. For more information email: sierra.academy.dance@gmail.com

Laura Austin photo: Inda Alexander, right, shown teaching Gabriella Gallegher with Elspeth Pomazal and Chloe Wetzel looking on. Alexander is offering an array of new classes starting this month.

Story First Published: 2021-09-10