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Since July 7, 1977, an impressive number of major dance companies and stars have performed in the Pikes Peak region, brought here by the Colorado Springs Dance Theatre.

It was a dedicated organization — not a dance company — of dance lovers, including many former and current dancers and instructors.

A garden party Aug. 26 at the Historic Old North End home of supporters Steve and Pam Marsh served as the site of an official announcement to donors of the group’s 2021 transition into broadening its community reach. The Dance Alliance of the Pikes Peak Region was unveiled.

As new Executive Director Jordan McHenry, a dancer and Colorado Springs native, explained, “This was always an incredible presenting organization.” Now, with rebranding and a collaboration with areawide cultural groups, it has a new, expanded mission: “Promote movement as a fundamental form of creative expression and enrich community through dance appreciation, creation and education.”

Already in place is The Movement Gallery at 128 N. Nevada Ave., with plans to join the downtown First Friday Art Walk with performances by special dance artists. It is a creative flex space. An artist-in-residence program already offers new works. Through a signature Pointe & Shoot, dance students and aspiring students work with a professional photographer to build a portfolio.

The Dance Alliance has helped young dancers with pandemic tuition and online Zoom class costs. A Soles for Soul program helps children needing dance shoes.

McHenry and board chair Emily Murawski said the alliance will work to create collaboration between local dance communities and organizations and “bring the health and well-being benefits of dance practice and performance to people in all walks of life.”

Featured during the garden party were young dancers Marissa Baker and Gabi Elliott.

McHenry, whose mantra for the group is “every body moves,” graduated from The Ailey School/Fordham University BFA program in New York City and has study and stage credits internationally. His career includes film, choreography and fashion and performing with Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity.

Alliance operations manager is Debbie McCasland.

Board members with Murawski are Leah Baldwin, Barbara Shapiro, Stephanie Horton, Deana O’Riley, Lori Obermeyer, Kevin Marvin, Alex Hope and president emeritus Beth Carlson.

This content was originally published here.