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Time CapsuIe: Celebrating 25 years of In Motion

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In Motion School of Dance founder Lizz Pimentel preparing students for a performance (Photograph by Amanda Temple)

In Motion School of Dance has held many recitals but next month’s has been 25 years in the making.

Called Time Capsule, it’s a showcase of favourite performances since Lizz Pimentel opened the company’s doors.

Ironically, her first landlord was reluctant to sign a lease with her in 1997 insisting that In Motion “would never work”.

She convinced him, and crammed about 40 students into a 15ft by 15ft space on Chancery Lane.

“There was one bathroom,” Ms Pimentel said. “I was the only dance teacher and I cleaned the place myself, for eight years.

“My initial reason for starting the school was that I wanted to bring more dance excellence and opportunity for local dancers. I did not think about much past that.”

Today, she has hundreds of students and 14 teachers, five of whom work full-time.

In Motion has also moved to Reid Street, where it is spread over two floors, seven studio spaces, a kitchen, changing rooms and an office.

Morgan Lugo (behind) and Taylor Railton dance The Nutcracker (Photograph by Amanda Temple)

Two years ago, Ms Pimentel added to that with the purchase of Somerset School of Dancing, which she operates separately, out of the Berkeley Cultural Centre in Pembroke.

The key advantage was that it allowed In Motion to offer Royal Academy of Dance exams and bring in examiners.

“They only had a handful of students when we took the school over, so we did not increase our student body by a lot,” she said.

She is proud of how the school has weathered the pandemic.

“I think all of us have been changed by it on some level,” she said. “When the pandemic hit we were all taken aback and thought, ‘How do we move forward?’”

In Motion offered classes remotely for a month and then offered a hybrid of in-studio and Zoom groups.

Growing business: Lizz Pimentel, director of In Motion School of Dance (Photograph supplied)

She believes the online classes provided dancers with a sense of continuity and a social platform during the global crisis.

“They got to see all their classmates and felt a sense of family,” she said. “I think we managed exceptionally well.”

After so many years in business she is starting to see a second generation of students coming through her doors.

“Sometimes the dancer’s mother was a student with us 15 years ago,” she said. “It makes me feel old, but I love it. It is great.”

She’s proud of dancers who are teaching overseas and others like Courtney Lopes and Jada Pearman who are working with professional companies.

In Motion School of Dance students (Photograph supplied)

“We also have a few graduating from college dance programmes on scholarship,” Ms Pimentel said.

Twenty-five years ago that would not have been an option.

“There are scholarships locally, but a lot are corporate or insurance-focused,” she said. “The fact that we have a great relationship with these universities and they recognise us, leads me to believe we are doing a good job. Having our dancers be on Broadway and be with these professional dance companies, that to me is the ultimate reward.”

Jaeshri Romeo performing in a past production of The Nutcracker (Photograph supplied)

Her career began with classes at Jackson’s School of Performing Arts. At 13, she joined Greg Thompson’s Follies as their youngest dancer ever before earning a bachelor’s degree in dance at Florida International University/New World School of the Arts in Miami.

Back in Bermuda, she took a job as a junior accountant because she thought “that was what you were supposed to do”. Ms Pimentel hated the work.

A past In Motion School of Dance production (Photograph supplied)

In her spare time she taught ballet and pointe but was frustrated because the company she worked for was not interested in the many ideas she had gleaned from her years studying in the US.

“I just woke up one day and said I’m going to start my own dance school,” she said. “Now there is never a day that I don’t wake up excited to go to the studio. Every single day there is this positive energy. It is incredible to watch the dancers grow and progress.”

Samantha Hollis performing in a past In Motion School of Dance recital (Photograph supplied)

Over the years she has had to become a savvy business woman. She describes herself as a “smart and careful” entrepreneur.

“I am never comfortable,” she said. “I am always looking for new things. Every day it is about how we can be better.

“For us the professional aspect is very important. We make sure that we are offering the best dance education that we can.”

Time Capsule takes the stage at Earl Cameron Theatre from June 3 until June 10. Tickets, $45, are available at inmotionbda.com and www.ptix.bm. For more information: 292-7615; info@inmotionbda.com

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Published May 26, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated May 28, 2022 at 8:08 am)

Time CapsuIe: Celebrating 25 years of In Motion

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