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The Reporter

For the love of dance and community: New Dance Workshop to mark 40 years
The Reporter Newspaper
  • By AMANDA PICCIRILLI apiccirilli@thereporteronline.com
  • Posted: 08/14/12 02:55 pm

Thousands have tapped, spun, jumped and pirouetted on Marlyn Abramson’s New Dance Workshop studio floors.  The doors have opened and closed to students year in and year out since 1973 and each dancer has left an imprint on Abramson’s heart.

In 2013 the dance studio, which holds its season from September through May, will be celebrating its 40th anniversary – 40 years of serving the community and 40 years of filling the hearts of Abramson’s students with pride, confidence and self-esteem.  Since the beginning, all are welcome to join the workshop and Abramson hopes the company will continue to grow during its anniversary year.  “We’re a neighborhood dance school and being community based is who we are,” said Abramson.

Starting in the early ’70s out of her North Wales home, Abramson had 12 little girls dancing along the floors of her house. With quick growth, she had to move to a bigger space.   “A goal of mine has always been to take care of children and I just happen to be doing it through something I love, which is dancing.”  Lansdale was the starting location in 1973 for the Marlyn Abramson School of Dance. Doors first opened for the studio at Peter Pan Nursery School at Fourth and Chestnut streets. The dance school then moved several more times – including a site on Courtland Street and later a facility at the intersection of Broad and Main streets.  For nearly two decades, Abramson’s studio has been located in Pennwood Plaza, 1801 N. Broad St., Hatfield Township, and now goes by the name Marlyn Abramson’s New Dance Workshop.  In 1997 Abramson acquired the New Dance Workshop in Upper Gwynedd, which is now located in Spring House, and then expanded with studios in Harleysville  and Jamison.  “The success I have received in Lansdale is thrilling and I will always hold this location dear to my heart because this is where I started,” said Abramson.  “Friends would tell friends, my doctors and other local Lansdale businesses would send their kids to me. It’s a strong niche here where people like to look out for each other. It’s been a real family. If you live in Lansdale and you want to dance, you come to me.”

The main philosophy at Marlyn Abramson’s New Dance Workshop is a full curriculum of dance techniques that is offered using a developmental approach that enables students to learn and grow at their own pace in a non-competitive atmosphere.    In Abramson’s eyes her goals are to build confidence, self-esteem, and good self-image, elements Abramson believes “its all (kids) need in life.”  “Thirty years ago we entered into our first and only competition,” said Abramson. “The environment there was awful. Moms were there wearing bowling jackets and booing. I never wanted my kids to be in that environment ever again because they are just that, kids.”  Abramson mainstreams all of her dancers. The studio has had male and female students with special needs including Asperger’s and autism.  A memorable moment for Abramson is when an 8-year-old girl who had cancer contacted the dance workshop with the hopes to dance on a stage in a tutu. That little girl did get her chance in the spotlight and sadly lost her battle with cancer.  “All kids can dance, they just need to follow the person in front of them,” said Abramson. “Moms are always so worried that there kid can’t do this or that. I have faith in them that with time they will be OK; everyone can do it.”

For students who want a more challenging experience at Marlyn Abramson’s New Dance Workshop, they have the ability to join the dance company. There are currently 25 performing companies that include ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary lyrical and Irish step.   Throughout the last 29 years the Marlyn Abramson’s New Dance Workshop has spread joy throughout the community performing in nursing homes, the mall and holiday parades. The dance company will be making a sixth appearance at Walt Disney World next year.  In December 2011, the company performed its seventh production of the “Nutcracker” with the Donetsk Ballet Company from Ukraine. There with the Donetsk Ballet Company from Ukraine. There were 94 students who participated along with the world-famous Ballet Company.  “Watching my students grow up is my greatest pleasure. That’s the best part,” said Abramson.

In almost four decades, Abramson has been to college recitals, weddings and performances to watch her past students succeed in life. Her employees and assistant directors are past students.  Abramson has also had the pleasure over the last nine years to see second generations coming into the dance workshop, having the ability to see moms, grandmothers and granddaughters walk in together, “seeing how they all look so alike.”   “I could not be more thankful for all of the students and all of my employees, the instructors and assistant directors. I cannot say thank you enough,” said Abramson.

With the 40th season approaching, interested students can attend one of the dance workshops four locations. Information can be found on Marlyn Abramson’s New Dance Workshop website at  http://newdanceworkshop.com  

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