When Kaleigh Hinkson was a little girl, she just wanted to dance. Now, as a married adult, this Colorado native brought her dancing skills back to her hometown of Montrose.

Elevation Academy of Dance is Hinkson’s creation, and the options she brings to area children are bountiful.

“When my husband and I discussed our future, my heart kept coming back to Montrose and the community,” Hinkson said. “This is where we wanted to be and where we wanted to give back.”

Hinkson has a degree in dance and has performed professionally and commercially, and she enjoys sharing her expertise with area youth. Her lessons range from beginner to more experienced, and she has a pre-professional student company that is by invitation or audition only. Elevation Academy is more for children dedicated to dance and serious about performing. Her desire is to “provide the more serious dancer with the opportunities and necessary training it takes to succeed in today’s dance world, while also providing a fun and educational experience for the recreational dancer.”

Although the academy has just opened, it has a full schedule. Classes run in two semesters with September through May serving as the dance season. There is a winter recital in January and a spring recital in May during which all students can perform if they wish to. The fall semester is currently gearing up at the Academy, and Hinkson is looking forward to generating interest and gaining more students, of all ages.

Classes range from hip hop to ballet to creative movement, and more; and each student is allowed one free class to see if it is what they want to pursue dance. Hinkson tries to offer something for everyone, at every level of skill and at every age. Her recreational program is for fun and teaches dance, movement, rhythm and has the added bonus of exercise and social fun in it. Her website has a sentiment which says it all: “Dance training for the Artist and the Athlete.”

But Elevation Academy is more than just a dance studio. Hinkson is teaching her students about life. “In this age of computer and video games, I want to teach my students how to have a conversation. How to look at a person when speaking with them, and how to engage and become a part of their community,” says Hinkson. “My students learn to be outgoing, how to make eye contact and connect with a person, and how to succeed and to give back with their success. It’s about community and the unity of our youth, and offering a safe, creative opportunity for them to excel.”

Recently the students performed for the community at a ’50s Sock Hop at Crash Burger, and they have plans for dancing in nursing homes and other community events. Hinkson’s plans for the future are big, and so are the smiles on the faces of her students as they dance their hearts out.

Elevation Academy of Dance is located at 413 N. First St. in Montrose. They have a website at Elevationacademyofdance.org, or call 970-275-8009 for more information.

Leslie Brown is the newsroom assistant for the Montrose Daily Press.

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