More2Dance than meets the eye
EAGLE — Hannah Larkins, the owner and operator of Eagle’s new dance studio, passionately believes that there is more to dance than people think.
In the words of Peter Townside, found on her website, Larkins maintains, “Dance enables you to find yourself and lose yourself at the same time.”
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Larkins’ dance philosophy is embedded right there in her studio name — More2Dance.
“The most valuable lesson I learned throughout my training and professional dance career is what I am most excited to share,” said Larkins. “There is more to dance than technique, musicality and style. Dance is movement of rhythmic expression (MORE). It is a language spoken worldwide and can deeply impact peoples lives. What a gift to be able to express yourself and communicate with all that which could have fallen on deaf ears. Technique is a dancers vocabulary, without it we cannot speak, so come and join me and find your voice.”
The course offerings at More2Dance include classical ballet, contemporary, jazz and hip-hop — which reflects the extensive training and professional experience of its owner. Larkins began dancing when she was 3 years old in her hometown of Preston, England. By age 8 she was enrolled in classes through the junior associate program for the Royal Ballet School, and she dreamed of becoming a professional ballerina. At age 11 she earned a place in the Royal Ballet School. However, after the first year assessment, she was told her physicality did not match the school’s standards for a ballerina.
“At age 11, that’s a hard thing to take,” said Larkins.
But that hard lesson also taught Larkins there was more to dance than a classical ballerina route. She enrolled in the Arts Education School and received training in modern dance, jazz, singing, drama and more.
“I became a very well-rounded dancer,” she said. So much so that when she graduated she found work with the Phoenix Dance Theatre, a contemporary company based in Leeds, England. From there she worked with other troops and eventually auditioned for a German musical called “Tanz Der Vampire.”
From fangs to the high seas
Larkins performed in Berlin with the popular musical — “Dance of the Vampire” — for two years.
“That was a whole new experience — having phonetic lessons for singing in German and then singing with fangs in my mouth,” she said.
After the draining experience of dancing and singing in a foreign tongue with foreign objects attached to her teeth, Larkins thought she would take on a less demanding challenge. That didn’t work out so well. She signed on as a dancer for Celebrity cruise ships.
“You can’t do everything as you would like to on a wiggly ship,” she said. “It adds a whole dimension to dance.”
Larkins said her cruise ship dancing days were definitely fun because they allowed her to see the world and perform in a variety of shows featuring different dance styles. There was also something to be said about the company on board.
“On the first cruise ship was where I met this rather lovely chap,” said Larkins.
His name was Nick Larkins, and he was performing on board with an a cappella quartet. Their romance blossomed and survived long distance for three years while she fulfilled a couple more cruise ship contracts. Her final gig found her working as the dance captain on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship. That was a particularly satisfying job because it enabled her to explore her other dance passion — teaching. She decided to focus on that calling when she left the cruise ship and she opened a studio back in her native England.
Eventually, Larkins’ romantic life intruded on her professional one. She and Nick had been working through the permanent visa process so she could join him in the United States. After years of waiting and stacks of forms, she received word she had 90 days to move to the U.S. and get married.
“So I had to close my school very quickly,” she said.
High country happiness
After spending the first seven months of their married life in Nick’s native Nebraska, the Larkins opted to move to Colorado. Nick took a job with US Bank three years ago. Hannah initially tried working in the banking world, but her dancing roots kept their pull. During the past year the couple has welcomed daughter Amelia (Millie) and decided to launch More2Dance. The studio is located at 725 Chambers Ave., Unit 19.
“For me, the goal of the school is to prepare dancers so they are technically sound so they can have an unlimited avenue for expression,” said Larkins. “I think it was pretty sad the local people had to travel to Edwards or Avon for dance classes. I feel it is important to offer this community the same opportunity.”
Larkins said her program offers something for dancers age 2 to adult.
“It is a great way to stay fit and stay active and to express yourself,” she said.
This summer, Larkins launched More2Dance by offering a number of intensives — three week classes that ran Monday through Friday. The 15-week fall semester at her studio begins Tuesday, Sept. 1. Information about class offerings and pricing is available at the studio’s website, http://www.more2dance.com.