Tucked behind Essential Bakery in Madison Valley, Ewajo Dance Studio has spent the past 34 years serving an assortment of delectable, nutritious...
Tucked behind Essential Bakery in Madison Valley, Ewajo Dance Studio has spent the past 34 years serving an assortment of delectable, nutritious dance classes that feed the body as well as the soul of the community.
Dance, to mother-son team Edna and Chris Daigre, is more than an art form, it’s a way of life. And they should know: They’ve been running Ewajo, working and dancing together, for the past 18 years.
Here, Edna Daigre reflects on the benefits and challenges of family dances of all kinds.
Q: What will people find when they come to the family dance?
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A: Parents will be able to participate with their child; sometimes this is a new experience. Usually kids have not danced with their parents, so it’s fun to bring the parents in and let them jump around with the kids. We also play all kinds of music, from music their parents danced to, to music the kids are dancing to now.
Q: What is Ewajo’s philosophy about dance?
A: We try to keep to what we call “common dance.” We take everyday movements like walking or stretching, and we put them to music. Here it’s just dance for everybody; we try to get people interested in using their bodies as another way to communicate.
Family dance, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday, Ewajo Dance Studio, 2719 E. Madison, Seattle; free (206-322-0155 or www.ewajocentre.com).
Q: At the family dances, do people get back to that freedom of movement they had as children?
A: Children always express themselves through movement, unless they’re stifled. Parents can help kids to communicate more with their bodies, to learn how to express themselves.
There was a story in the newspaper recently, asking why there weren’t more African-American ballerinas. Ewajo does a lot of work to make dance available to all people.
The role models, the image is just not there. If you don’t see yourself dancing, you have no interest. Little kids see the white dancers, and they also see little girls doing ballet.
Q: What are the challenges and benefits of doing your own “family dance,” working together all these years?
A: When it comes to the artistic part, that works very well. The business aspect, that’s different, and we’re constantly working on that. We work together to make a whole approach to life. That’s what we give back to people.