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For the Love of Dance

The Dance Collective's Collective Spirit

I first noticed The Dance Collective (TDC) on a cold winter evening during rush hour while I waited… patiently… for the light on Post Road and Sylvan to blink green. On the 2nd floor of the heavy building across the street were two illuminated plate glass windows revealing about 30 dancers within, mostly female. It was a class or a rehearsal, I couldn’t tell. But it was such a departure from the feeling on the mean streets of Westport, of busy roads and irritated drivers, that I became entranced. It was pure joy, energy, and light.

The Dance Collective (TDC) was started in 2008 by Enrique Alarcon and his dance partner, Amanda Parton. For nine years they’ve been attracting students, male and female, from five to 90 years old. Its mission is simple and fabulous: create a community of people who love to dance and wish to make it part of their lifestyle.

That’s it. To dance for the love of dancing.

A long-time and frequent student at TDC, Michele Stefani, began to dance after her neighbor’s rave reviews of TDC finally wore her down. After taking one class she admits “I never put my running shoes back on.” She continues, “The space is gorgeous, beautiful light, clean and bright. Enrique creates a go-to place for feeling good.”

Though Enrique admits “Westport is a tough crowd. They want good quality for a good price - which is hard!” Well, yes. Of course we do. We’re all trying to gauge the firmament of possibility when it comes to just about every activity.

So he finds the professional dancers who can “inspire and guide,” in addition to teaching and motivating. One of his many devoted students, who took classes at TDC every day for years, says, “[Enrique] has by far the best dance instructors in the field.”

Enrique bid his native country of Peru a fond chau at age 22, during his fourth year of law school. The siren song of bailando en los Estados Unidos far exceeded his passion for Peruvian law. “By 22 I knew how to teach, to create,” he explains, “you will find the best of the best in the US.” He went on to create, according to Michele, “a little gem in Westport… it’s special, different - it’s a boutique, not factory-produced.”

Though TDC is about the positive spirit of dance and not about the grind and manipulation we all enjoyed watching in “Black Swan,” it doesn’t mean they don’t churn out amazing dancers. Like, competition winners and finalists amazing. Though he’ll never measure success by the parade of trophies and awards in his studio.

He runs TDC by one simple rule: “As long as dance is always a part of their lives, my job is done.”

As for the students, Michele simply states, TDC “Makes me happy.”

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