Moonlight Dance Studio celebrates personal expression through dance
December 22, 2015
Dancing, like music and painting, is a universal art form. From the frozen shores of the Artic Ocean to the very heart of Africa dancing has been a way for humans to express and celebrate their world and themselves since before the beginning of recorded history.
"I can get very intense in classes," said Karen Munro, owner and instructor at the Moonlight Dance Studio in Granby. "I tell the students this is art. This is the same as learning to sing or to play an instrument and it needs to be treated with that level of respect."
Along with being an amazing medium for personal expression dancing is also an incredible workout. Moonlight Dance Studio in Granby combines those two elements, focusing on the artistic form and movements in various styles of dancing while also emphasizing the health and fitness benefits that come from an exercise routine rooted in rigorous dance practice.
The Moonlight Dance Studio is owned by husband and wife team Karen and Rob Munro, who also own and operate The Mountain Beast Gym in Granby. The Moonlight Dance Studio is located within the larger Mountain Beast Gym complex. At her studio Dance Instructor Karen Munro teaches multiple different dance forms from Belly Dancing to Pop Choreography with several more traditional Latin and European dances on her class schedule as well.
Originally from New Jersey Karen grew up in Columbia, but her ethnic roots are Egyptian. She says she feels the strongest connection to Belly Dancing, which her Egyptian grand mother encouraged Karen to study early in life. "I set higher standards for myself because I wanted to make her proud," she said.
After moving back to the US in her early twenties Karen earned her degree in accounting and became a CPA but always kept the idea of starting a dance studio in the back of her mind. "When we decided to move here and open the fight school and gym I decided I wanted to go ahead and pursue my dream of having my own dance studio," she said.
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Karen began taking Belly Dancing lessons at age eight and was competing in dance competitions by age 11. She now teaches five different types of Belly Dancing, including the more traditional Egyptian form and new styles such as Bollywood and Tribal Belly Dancing.
Along with Belly Dancing the Moonlight Dance Studio also has classes in Salsa, Waltz, Ballroom Dancing, Brazilian Samba, Pop Chorography and multiple Latin dance styles such as Merengue and Cumbia. You may have recently seen Karen and some of her students from the Pop Choreography class at the Moonlight Dance Studio. The Dance Troop has performed multiple times over the past several months at community events throughout Grand County.
The Pop Choreography class from Moonlight Dance Studio had their first performance at the Granby Trick or Treat Main Street event held in Oct. when they performed a well-timed dance to Michael Jackson's famous song "Thriller". Each dancer was decked out in costume and makeup, giving them the appearance of zombies.
"When we started training for Thriller a lot of those people had never danced a single step before," Karen said. "It was not until after the performance when they saw the video and watched themselves that it hit them, we did this!"
Karen said the performance was a huge success for Moonlight Dance Studio and after the show other local organizations requested performances of the Troop at their own events.
Because of the sudden popularity of the performances Karen and the Pop Choreography class also prepared a Christmas Dance performance they have displayed at multiple Christmas events in the county over the past several weeks. The group has already been requested for multiple performances in the county this coming summer for 4th of July celebrations.
Karen herself develops all the choreography and movements for the dances performed by the Pop Choreography class. Similarly Karen also makes her own costumes for Belly Dancing performances and selects the various costumes used by the Pop Choreography class.
To Karen Munro dancing is about self-expression and self-acceptance and she hopes to spread her love of this ancient art form to others. "When I dance on my own I feel like myself," she said. "I feel like I can let go of everything around me, I can let go of the world and just be myself.
Dance classes are held at the Moonlight Dance Studio Monday through Friday at various times throughout the day. Most of the classes are scheduled during evening hours with noon classes scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can learn more about the Moonlight Dance Studio by visiting their Web site at http://www.moonlight-dance.com. You can also check out their Facebook page by searching for "Moonlight Dance Studio" on Facebook.
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