The U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Wainwright, Department of Public Works is holding a meeting of the...
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Alaska and Yukon Headlines
When the wife of one of the drummers from the Russian percussion group Etnobit fell onto the ice of Lake Baikal in Siberia, it made a remarkable reverberation, leading to a performance at the most unusual of concert venues.December 2, 2013
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Today we’re going to dance class. Three months ago in midtown Anchorage, Studio Pulse opened its doors as the cities newest modern dance studio. Stephanie Wonchala is the founder of the Pulse Dance Company, and runs the studio.
“Think of it as four walls where there is no judgment. We’re all just here to move, and dance,” Wonchala says.
The classes offered at Studio Pulse are wide ranging to say the least, from “Jazzy Leaps and Turns”, to “Ballet for Bad Bitches,” to “Twerk and Sculpt.” And just in case you’re unclear on what twerking is…
“The Oxford dictionary describes it as ‘to move the rear in a sexually provocative manner,’” Wonchala says with a laugh. “So we do a lot of jiggling and shaking and it’s really fun.”
But Wonchala says you can expect a real work out as part of the fun.
“It’s not the Miley Cyrus trashy twerking that everyone is familiar with. It really is a thigh, glute, and ab sculpting work out. So you’re literally drenched in sweat and sore the next day,” Wonchala says.
On this day, there’s a more traditional class taking place. Dance instructor Alyssa Taylor is teaching an intermediate ballet class for adults.
“I think more people want to put their little babies in ballet, but there are the handful of adults that want the ballet body and like the exercise aspect, or maybe even the gracefulness that comes from ballet,” says Taylor.
This is Taylor’s second year teaching, and she says she loves the grace and tradition of ballet. But even this seemingly standard dance class has the occasional curve ball. Taylor says you’ll be doing more than just pirouettes to classical music in her class.
“Anything that has a nice, strong even beat is pretty easy to put movement to. So, we can get pretty creative,” Taylor says.
Taylor finds ballet to be one of the richest dance styles, but her favorite part of teaching it is discovering what her students get from it.
“Even if you want to just have fun and move and don’t care about the workout part, there’s a little bit of that as well. So hopefully whatever you come to ballet for you leave with,” Taylor says.
But for those who are, or want to become serious dancers, Wonchala says the sky is the limit. Including becoming part of the Pulse Dance Company’s performance team.
“It’s not just ‘I did palates and now I’m done,’ it’s ‘I did intermediate ballet, and then I went to point class, and now I’m feeling strong enough to do Ballet for Bad Bitches, and I auditioned for Pulse and now I’m performing with them!’ There’s definitely a ladder to climb,” Wonchala says.
The Pulse Dance Company is currently preparing for their season finale performance, which will take place February 2014 at APU. But in the mean time, Wonchala invites anyone to stop by and check out the new studio, even if they’re not sure if they’re the dancing type.
“The beautiful thing about dance is that we were born doing it, and everyone can do it. So it’s really nice to have a studio where I can encourage people to come in and break those uncomfortable boundaries and find the mover in themselves,” Wonchala says.
When people see a reindeer walking around downtown Anchorage, lots of questions come to mind. What is a reindeer doing in a wine shop, for example.
Albert Whitehead, the caretaker of Star the Reindeer, never gets tired of telling the story to each passerby he meets. For him “Star #6″ is a small piece of a long history of reindeer living at the corner of 10th and I in Anchorage.
Story & Video:
Slavik Boyechko & Travis Gilmour
Anchorage's libraries are struggling with budget difficulties, aging facilities and the changing needs of their customers. The Loussac Library, once a centerpiece, has become an emblem of the problem.December 1, 2013