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Grand opening for new dance studio in River Falls this Sunday

The names Devanritya Dance Ensemble and Isis Aurora Dance Collective may sound familiar to many in the River Falls area.

That's because the two groups have performed many times in the River Falls area.

Jocelyn Gorham, who lives in Beldenville, has been part of the two dance groups that specialize in Middle Eastern and South Indian dancing.

Now Gorham's decided to bring the exotic international dance styles permanently to River Falls by opening her own dance studio.

It's called "Shakti Dance Studio," and can be found in Suite 310 of the River Falls Academy.

This Sunday from 2-5 p.m., with the help of the two dance troupes, Gorham will host a grand opening celebration and invites the public to attend. The event will feature sample classes, performances, demonstrations and refreshments.

Weather permitting, some of the activities will be held outside.

"There will be a cool studio to admire, along with sample classes in Middle Eastern belly dance and South Indian Classical dance, a variety of free refreshments, a short, but sweet, dance performance, with an Arabic drumming demonstration and performance by master global percussionist Tim O'Keefe," said Gorham. "Dances will be performed by the Devanritya Dance Ensemble and school and by the members of Isis Aurora Dance Collective."

Studio offerings

Gorham and O'Keefe, a teacher in the Twin Cities, will share the Shakti Dance Studio where, beginning in October, they plan to offer classes in belly dance and Arabic rhythms and drumming techniques, respectively.

The belly dance classes are divided into teen-level and beginning-level classes. They run for seven weeks, from Oct. 7 through Nov. 18.

According to Gorham, "Classes in basic Middle Eastern belly dance technique will begin with stretching and strengthening exercises, then move on to cover body isolations, steps and simple combinations," she said. "Zills, or finger cymbals, will also be introduced."

For persons interested in the drum classes taught by O'Keefe, they will run for five weeks from Oct. 16-Nov. 13.

Gorham said those classes will include, "...basic percussion techniques for doumbek, riqq and tar," more familiarly known as Middle Eastern hand drum, tambourine and frame drum.

Registration is required for the classes.

To register and learn more information, call Gorham at 426-9458.

"We look forward to sharing our excitement about the new studio and our art with the community," said Gorham.