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Jeanne Limmer Dance Center 'Branches' out

Business Brief

Dancer Jeanne Limmer recently explained the power of touch to residents at the Lafayette Center in Franconia Courtesy Photo. (click for larger version)
April 15, 2010
Not only does Limmer offer dance instruction at her studio in Reporter Court in North Conway, she also reaches out to schools with arts in education and to nursing homes with art and movement in health care.

"I travel to eight different sites (nursing homes) in the North Country. It is the simplicity of waking up muscles, using imagery; the same healing I use in my life," she says.

When Limmer shares her movements with seniors, some of whom are wheelchair users, she asks them to tell her a time in their life when they had great happiness. The seniors respond with words and gestures, explains Limmer.

"The gentleman who answered, 'The time I bagged a 14.5 buck,' shared his feelings with a simple movement. Or the woman I asked, 'How does it feel to move?' answered, while she brought her hands up over her head, 'beautiful and gorgeous,'" says Limmer.

Limmer inspires children throughout the state, too. She is an Arts in Education roster artist with the State of New Hampshire. Limmer travels to schools offering workshops on movement exploration connecting academics with the arts. In some of her workshops, Limmer encourages students to put movements on paper. In fact, on Thursday, May 13, Limmer will hold a Movement and Brush Stroke Workshop at her center in North Conway.

Locally, the center offers classes for children and adults. Limmer's classes begin with pre-school classes for children ages three to five, teaching them ballet technique, jazz and tap. At age 7, classes include modern dance and hip-hop. Limmer's Axis Dance Company, for students age 12 to 18, performs in the Valley and is working on a recital to be performed at the Barnstormers Theatre in Tamworth on April 30 and May 1, titled "Embrace the Journey."

"The students came up with the name," Limmer adds.

Dance teaches tools for life. "Dance is a great form of expression," says Limmer. Children get a great sense of well-being and self through dance. Limmer stresses that dance keeps children healthy and teaches problem solving.

"When kids come to dance after the stress of the day, they are able to move through it on the dance floor; they learn to let go," she says. One mother, who stopped into the center, added that dance keeps her son brave and courageous.

Speaking of courage, Limmer recently decided to open up a "branch" to her dance center. This past February, she opened the Branch, right across the way on Reporter Court.

"We call it the Branch because of the inspiration from the forest and the tress," she explains. "I tell my dancers to take a risk, so why not take a risk myself?" she says.

Limmer says that it was time to open up more space; after all, business has been consistent throughout the years. About 140 students go through the center each week. The new space also gives students an opportunity to dance in two different spaces. It helps to make that transition from the studio to a real live performance. The Branch is a beautifully simple space, with dark hardwood floors, dark wood ceilings, bright white walls and lots of windows.

"It is a brown ceiling, brown floor and space in between — that's all you need to dance!" says Limmer.

That sounds like confidence and love for what you do. That's exactly what Limmer's young students say about her. "Jeannielimmer [all one word] you have the best job! You just have to dance all day! Aren't you just so lucky!"

Jeanne Limmer Dance Center offers classes for children and adults. The new Branch is available for rent for workshops or a series of classes. For more information, call 356-3422.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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